Of Glass and Sand


The essence of Life is that it stops.

Like Sand in an Hour Glass

there is a finite amount of

Seconds, Breaths, Lungfuls of Air

that you as a Body get to take.

All grains of Sand.

We hold them in our fist,

and no matter how tightly or loosely,

no matter the amount of space between our fingers,

that Sand will fall.

Sometimes we will notice,

and sometimes we will not.

Sometimes we will clench our fists

in an attempt for some control,

in an attempt to joust with Fate,

but all that will occur is an increase of slipping.

And sometimes we will come across the shards

of a Broken Hourglass

take that Glass and Metal lying at our feet

christen it art, poetry, literature, and inspiration

but all it will ever be is part of a Corpse’s story.

The remnants of of a container for something bigger.

We need to remember that.



The poem above is something inspired not specifically by any piece of work discussed in class, but rather the idea of how humans respond to texts involving tragedy. Such an idea was brought up by a classmate of mine who, after we had read a piece written by a German journalist who witnessed the slaughter of Jewish people, stated that he felt that we as a class had intellectualized the article, rather than giving the dead the honour and respect they are due.

  This idea really moved me in that if you look at the way literature is discussed, often we forget the stories of suffering and misery we read about take their root from real events, if they are not real events themselves. Too often do we, and I am just as guilty of this as the next person, turn people into symbols in literature, forgetting that their is a very real story and identity behind the words we read. This was an idea I really wished to emulate in this piece, which is why I chose to capitalize certain words. By capitalizing words like ‘Sand’ and ‘Corpse’, I was attempting to give some sort of name to all those who died whose names we do not know. For example, in the article the writer speaks of a young woman who passes the writer and says the phrase ’23’, almost signifying that her age is more important than a name. This line really spoke to me as i made me realize just how dehumanizing the oppression during the Holocaust was. To reach a point where the last thing you wish to tell someone is how young you are, rather than what your name is speaks volumes of the loss of identity that the victims of the Nazi’s faced. And it is this loss of identity, not only at the hands of the Nazis but at the hands of an audience, that I wished to help return in some small way.

  Furthermore, I wanted to craft a piece to remind my audience that the people we read about in books and other forms of media are not a sum of the tragedies and  oppression they face. Obviously the fact that they had to face such atrocities is disgusting, but the important thing to pull from it is not that they suffered, but rather that they were people who, up until that point, had been living their lives. These were people who had families and hobbies and dreams, but to reduce them to the fact that they died in a genocide is to reduce them to one dimensional people. And, to me at least, this is almost a form of fictionalization of suffering. To quote my classmate, we owe them our honour and respect, and I would offer to my audience that the best way we can give this to them is to consider their story in terms of their overall life rather than in fragments.

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One thought on “Of Glass and Sand

  1. Dear Megan,

    There is beauty in the way you capitalized nouns throughout your piece; you took a simple letter and transformed it to represent something bigger than itself. However, the part that struck me the most was the symbolism of the hourglass. The irony in your usage of an hourglass is that it’s see-through, and thereby mocks the the ignorance of people who live in daily luxury; people who “christen [the world’s suffering as] art, poetry, literature, and inspiration”. It is almost as though people must step on shards of broken glass (or “fragments”, in your words) and draw blood from their own flesh before they realize the significance of societal upheavals across the ocean – before they give honour and respect to those who died.
    We often tend to forget that time exists for everyone, touches everyone, and envelopes everyone. We forget that when one dies, the abrupt end of their life shatters their world. We forget that as time exists as a thread that ties people together, death will cause it to degenerate into spilled grains of sand. You took advantage of this as you used anaphora to to build long sentences, but it was the shorter sentences that drew attention to the neglected fragments of sand and glass on the ground. At our feet.
    Perhaps with your voice, people will start remembering.

    I have to nothing to say in terms of improvement; the message of your poetry was far too overwhelming for me to notice any weaknesses in spite of the multiple times in which I reread your piece



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