Thursday, May 16, 2024

Ask not....

we were children 

at the cusp of puberty

junior high school beginning

childhood tossed behind us

like castaway pigtails, worn

out sneakers, dolls and toys -

A new president held us entranced

when he spoke with long vowels 

and wavy brown hair declaring 

the things that we were taught at home.

He was clearly ours – we learned of Camelot

unsure whether he was creator or symbol

it mattered little – there was talk of moon

shots and stirrings of unity … he sailed a

sailboat hair ruffling in the wind - and we 

were twelve or thereabouts and not yet 

wearing flowers in our hair but in our hearts – 

our open hearts – so tender and open –so very

easily pierced, and bloodied that afternoon when 

school  announced early dismissal… 

of life that we then realized was  

but a dream that we dreamt.

the voice stilled – a real man’s 

skull blown away ….


  1. Moving well written poem. I remember standing in my grandmother's kitchen hearing it on the news on the wireless. It was morning and I was alone. I still remember the feeling of something momentous very serious and shocking.....Rall

  2. Pearl,
    A most significant date in history, remembered for the dreadful scenes captured in black and white photos from Dealey Plaza, Dallas.
    I heard about it on a radio report when I was six years old. Too young to fully understand the circumstances, but knew it was something awful, a world away from my surroundings then.
    I have been to Dallas several times and visited the Sixth Floor Museum. A very strange experience, especially as the truth is still out there as well..

  3. I remember watching the funeral procession in school that day and how my heart broke when little John John saluted his daddy. Three years old. It killed me even more when Bobby was assassinated. Sigh. A moving poem, Pearl. It took me right back. It does seem like Camelot, looking back.

  4. ". . . he spoke with long vowels
    and wavy brown hair declaring
    the things that we were taught at home."
    I love the way you give us two moments here: the inauguration and the assassination--because the latter would not have hit us so hard were it not for the former. Such "open hearts." Powerful poem! Thank you.

  5. You've wonderfully captured moments of history, Pearl; how hope was birthed and then was nipped in the bud.

  6. A moment wonderfully captured - ps thank you for your comment - The poem intended for What's Going On was called A Moment in History the link on my blog may have been incorrect thanks Jae

  7. Moving words of a moment that the world will never forget. Well captured.

  8. Pearl, a wonderful poem. I like the way you first described the wonder of the JFK years and then, almost bluntly, you transition to his tragic death. You really captured emotions with this well crafted poem.