The Poet Community

Our Mistakes Are Us | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Old Sam on his deathbed says
he’d rewrite his life if he could.
He’d do so many things differently,
be nice to all his wives if he could
but luckily they had died before him.

When he was in grammar school
he admired the president in office.
When asked if he would change
anything in his life, Truman
rasped, “Not a damn thing!”

Old Sam has pondered this for
many years and thinks his life
has been misspent writing poems
that are little more than broken lines,
unruly couplets and forced rhymes.

Our mistakes are us, Old Sam says.
Truman should have done something
different to end the war than ordering
commanders to drop atomic bombs.
Murdering innocents is not the answer.


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