Russell Shorto


I beg you please don't give

These stars individual names

Or let tigers grow some-

Thing other than stripes

I want the same right to praise

Rainfall for blessing us; let

Silence be something

And never stand shaking

Hands and limbs like dark

Winds blowing but live

With wonder as water we

Drink from the stony well

I am as content as you

Will ever be and consider

That all your relatives fly angels

For kites in private heavens

That gives these stars rights

They have no right to claim

But who will sue or raze

Who will give blood for water

Exchange this wind of noise

For the peace that pleases

And let it all drop to death?


About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar