‘Where We Find Ourselves’: Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem on the shooting at UCLA
After news broke that there had been a shooting attack at UCLA Wednesday, the campus was swarmed by law enforcement officers and we later learned that professor William Klug had been killed killed by a former student, who then took his own life). U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology at UCLA in 1972, composed this poem, “Where We Find Ourselves.”
Where We Find Ourselves
In memory of professor William Klug
and the students of UCLA, 6-1-16
“small massacres” now — yes
it is true, this place where we find
we put up bluish
plastic chairs, angled desks
glassy projectors against the door
the door, yes — it is all
we scramble with our hands
up in the air & we, well wait
we wait to be that leaf outside
it still moves & this tree splintered
singing despite its scattered nectars
— with all life at
the core of all things
& we are —
this trembling world.
– Juan Felipe Herrera
Poet Laureate of the United States
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