Humanist Voices in Verse: Newtown

Humanist Voices in Verse: “Newtown” by Daniel Thomas Moran

HNN’s Poetry Editor Daniel Thomas Moran shares a poem motivated by the recent Connecticut school shootings.

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

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to with “Poetry” in the subject line. Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.


        15 Dec 12

The sounds we hear,
are the noises we make.

Of doors slamming shut,
Of lights put out,
Of the flesh being torn from us.

Tranquility has no place left to it.
We have lost the notes
of the song that starts the day.

We replace it all
with the expressions of the lost.
More sirens and church bells.

The beckoning to our angels.
The laments to the indifferent clouds.

Can we bear to
see ourselves yet again, in
all that’s been vanished?

Who among us has words
to explain the slaughter
of the babies of strangers?

Who are these people
we claim to not know,
But us?

—Daniel Thomas Moran