I will confess that I don’t know how to talk about Tuesday’s horrifying massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, without breaking down, without sounding hopeless and pessimistic, without repeating points made more forcefully and more eloquently by others. There are more questions than answers, and there is more grief than anyone can bear. It seems imperative to write about it, but also impossible. On Tuesday, Joyce and I will surely talk about bills and measures, about the politics and the police response, but today I just don’t have it in me.
In moments of profound tragedy, it can make sense to draw strength from the written word. Some people turn to scripture, others to literature.
One poem, by the great American writer Langston Hughes, has been making the rounds this week. It’s a lament called “Kids Who Die,” and it was written by Hughes in 1938. You may be familiar with it, but I wasn’t.