“We Lived Happily During the War”

Ilya Kamisky is a Ukrainian-American poet whose work voices the unease we feel at this moment. Though we must defend joy, rest, and gratitude, we insist that they cannot numb us. They must compel us.

We Lived Happily During the War
By Ilya Kaminsky

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war.

“We Lived Happily During the War” from the Poetry International website. Copyright © 2013 by Ilya Kaminsky. Reprinted by permission of Ilya Kaminsky.

This poem was published by The Poetry Foundation.

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