News Poetry: Missing at the Table

In a time of national crisis, what our country really needs is a good poem.
—Herbert Hoover


This is the time when we must say to the stranger,
the other, sit here. Notice how difficult it can be
to even come to the same table, how hard
to look the other in the eye. Something in us screams,
“Right, I am right.” And it is hard to hear the voice
beneath that scream, a whisper of a gospel that says
nothing at all.

This is the time when we must say to ourselves,
I am also the stranger, when we must look
in the mirror and not know who it is we see—
someone capable of being more courageous,
more compassionate, more devoted, more
astonishingly vulnerable and connected
than we ever knew ourselves to be. Who
is that stranger in the mirror, we must ask,
and vow to never let her down.

This is the time when we must write the poems
our country needs, the poem that builds the bridge
from truth to truth and never touches the river
of lies. The poem that allows our country
to fall in love with itself again, the poem
with enough places set at its table
that everyone knows they have a place to sit
and the rest of us know when that person is missing
because their chair is empty.

This is the time for the beauty that passes
all understanding, a testament of goodness
that cannot be contained, a congress of delight.
This is the time to pick up your pen
and with your most tender, most beautiful,
most ferocious self,


Photo credit: Liz, Creative Commons, Flickr 

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer is Colorado’s Western Slope Poet Laureate, a TEDx speaker, and San Miguel County’s first poet laureate. She has authored and edited thirteen books, is widely anthologized, and teaches and performs throughout Colorado. Visit her at


  1. Thank you Rosemary and the Colorado Independent for making space for poetry commenting on the news in your publication. I must say it never occurred to me in all my years there was a quote from Herbert Hoover to be appreciated. But there it is – the Poet opens up doors to new insights and discoveries of our shared life on this fragile blue ball.

  2. Amen, Linda … to people surprising us, and to the lens of poetry that helps us see things newly.

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