Eye Witness Poetry. The Kent Shootings 4th May 1970

Shiela McCarty witnessed the massacre. She has kindly offered us the the poems she wrote about the awful event of that day.

Sheila McCarthy Holley

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Sheila McCarthy was just 19 years old on that awful day. She witnessed four kids shot dead and a further 10 people wounded when they were caught in the crossfire. The victims were all unarmed, they were students attending a peaceful demonstrations against the Viet Nam war. 

Sheila never considered herself a poet, but the poems she wrote about that day reflect the feelings and emotions of the time and the events.

On receiving the poems, Shiela’s sister responded.

Chici I read your poems in the early hour and I could hear you in them. I feel as if I found you, the fire that shaped you- the moment that made you? Dear Jesus, what a horror. I very much appreciate your sharing this with me.

The Blue Nib thank Sheila McCarthy Holley for kindly allowing use to reproduce her work.

Kent shootings 1
Kent Shootings 2
Kent Shootings 3
Kent Shootings 4

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The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

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  1. Amazing poem. Searing beauty in the words that tell the truth, the truth that is not allowed in a so called ‘dreamed of’ democracy.


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