Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 64° Clear
A&E >  Books

American Life in Poetry: ‘Sun to God’

Kwame Dawes

By Kwame Dawes

War, impending war and exile forced by war, are increasing preoccupations in the work of Ladan Osman – not so much the wars, but the damage that they do to everyday people who are trying to live in this world. In “Sun to God,” these walking children and their parents, these laughing children and their parents, will eventually start to run, and will eventually stop laughing. It is a vividly captured accounting of the wars that continue to be waged around us.

Sun to God

The children walked.

Then they began to run.

Why are we running, one asked?

No one knew. They ran faster.

They began laughing.

Why are we laughing?

Not one knew. They laughed more.

It was the eve of war but they didn’t know.

The children walked.

The children’s parents walked.

The parents’ parents walked.

Their shadows spilled ahead.

Their shadows lagged behind.

Then, they began to run.

No one was laughing.

Poem copyright 2022 by Ladan Osman, “Sun to God” from The Rumpus, April 26, 2022. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.