Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

N is for nought . . .

There is nought
to inspire me,
no sense of connectedness,
instead I face a blank nothing,
not even a nudge
can push me past the great null void.

Today’s news takes me to non-words,
Nihilism, from the Latin to mean
no-thing, as in nothing at all,
no moral code, no faith, no reality, no knowledge.
This is really the bottom.
The empty cup.
I have lost my way
for I know nothing.
Nothing is far worse 
than anonymous.

The combination of the Marathon bomb and a bad cold led me to this poem. I watch technical experts pick through the rubble. On one level, I wail and wish no one knew how to make a bomb, that no one’s limbs were ripped apart by shrapnel. But I do not believe in nothing. Morning begins each day with opportunity. Those people on the task force are using all their skills to find that bomb-maker; they are doing something.

Because I still have that dreaded cold, I watched a lot of TV yesterday. On Fringe, Peter is consumed with anger when his daughter is killed. Someone warns him, using a proverb attributed to Confucius, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” 

Is that our path? We cannot afford to be weak before terrorists, so we promise revenge. Does that comfort those who lost their child, their loved one? We need to make time for grief and a time for healing. 

I would rather be inspired by former President Clinton’s Global Initiative.  Last night on Steven Colbert, Clinton said if we work hard to improve conditions in the whole world, we are working to improve America, for we are all connected. He called on each of us to make a commitment, to do one thing this year that will make the world a better place. 

These are not empty platitudes. He’s talking about clean water, adequate schools, a safe place for women and children who have been abused, sufficient medical supplies at hospitals. And we can do these things at home as well. What community does not have its homeless, its hungry, those who are alone and fearful, those who suffer loss? We live in a very fragile bubble if we separate ourselves from those in need.

African Violets by my computer  (Camp, 2013)


  1. I like your poem.
    Sorry about the cold. Hope you get feeling well soon.
    I'll have to watch Colbert sounds like it was interesting.

  2. We've all felt so sad about the marathon bombs and your poem sums up some of those feelings. I do hope your cold goes away quickly and you feel better very soon.

  3. Very well put. The emptiness that comes with feeling helpless at times like this is beautifully expressed here. Thank you for finding these words. Feel better soon!

  4. You poem made me think of the fact that I have fallen behind on posting my A to Z Poetry Prompts. I will work on catching up or at least going forward from here.

    I believe I stuck my head in the sand after what happened in Boston though I was having trouble even before that. Your words are very wise. We need healing not revenge.

  5. I like your poem very much also, I have found myself in a similare place, trying to find words...

  6. You stand in the storm and when the wind does not blow you away, your adjust your sails.