"When They Die We Change Our Minds About Them" by Jennifer Michael Hecht is the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day and the offering from Poets.org's Poem-A-Day for April 22, 2014. A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23957.
Poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht (b. 1965) (pictured) is a teacher at The New School. Her credits include two award-winning poetry collections and several works of highly-praised non-fiction. Reference to this and additional biographical information may be found here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/jennifer-michael-hecht.
The poem is organized in four, free-verse stanzas following the pattern quintet, triplet, quintet, triplet. The final two lines have such a strong assonance that they nearly rhyme.
The message or history lesson, summarized in the title, is interesting and thought-provoking. As I read, I was reminded of President Gerald Ford's funeral. While he lived, the media portrayed him as a bumbling fool. The same media eulogized him as the right leader at the right time, star athlete (pictured--yes, that is a picture of Gerald Ford), and healer of the country in the wake of the Watergate scandal. How much more could Ford have accomplished if were treated in life the way he was treated in death? Sadly, we will never know.
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