Poet Sharon Olds wrote back to the White House (to Laura Bush) her reasons for not attending the National Book Festival as a featured writer & speaker. It’s reprinted at The Nation. The quotation below is something she leads up to, and doesn’t just come right out and say in the beginning. In fact, the letter is somewhat disarming for a bit, somewhat chatty and warm, but then it suddenly turns downward and ends with:
So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.
Olds has a knack for plain, visceral imagery that takes ordinary words and weaves them for extraordinary effect.