Humanist Voices in Verse:

This week’s poem is by HNN’s Poetry Editor Daniel Thomas Moran.

Daniel Thomas Moran served as Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York from 2005 to 2007. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Forum, and the Poetry Salzburg Review. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine. His website is

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Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.

A Poem of Necessity

Today I am grieving, but
not for any certain reason.
It is Saturday at a country house.
No one should be grieving here.

But it happens that way, at times.
It is a thing we do to ourselves.

Afterall, people sing in prisons.
They laugh in rooms with the dying.
Surely things end, but they
begin as well, don’t they?

Perhaps I am not grieving
for today, but for yesterday.
I recall clearly when it was
right there before me, now
I am unsure where I put it.

It is not unlike the wind, which
comes and goes, or the leaves
it takes from these trees, which
accumulate in layers of loss.
It’s not for what I cannot recall,
but only for what I can.

It is there in my mirror, in the
face I have come to owning.
The face which has become
a gray shroud for my youth.

So much for us to know,
all the more to be imagined.
Surely we should not
spare time to grieve.
Our time passes, and we
must pass with it.          

What a strange thing, these musings
which can cause the eyes to fill.
Facing how much is bygone.

Last night, in this house, our cats
walked the floor above our bed.
Through the length of the dark.
While no one was watching.

They traveled the night.

—Daniel Thomas Moran