Eye Witness Poetry. The Kent Shootings 4th May 1970

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

About the contributor

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

Related Articles

Kathrine Yets, Poetry

Librarian and Poet, Kathrine Yets.

2 Poems by Shawna Ervin

Shawna Ervin’s chapbook Mother Lines was published in January 2020.

2 poems by Martina Reisz Newberry

Martina Reisz Newberry, of Upland, California, daughter of a steel worker, storyteller father and a talented, artistic mother, uses words that jostle and ripple in responding to the environment.

1 COMMENT

  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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

‘Snow Fall’ a poem by Martin Willitts Jr

Martin's latest book is 'Unfolding Towards Love' (Wipf and Stock).

Poetry by Bruce Meyer

Bruce Meyer, First Poet Laureate of Barrie, Ontario, CBC broadcaster, and prolific writer.

J. J. Steinfeld, Featured Poet

Author of twenty titles, J.J Steinfield.

Shagbark Hickories by Joan Colby

Joan Colby’s Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize

3 Poems by Janet MacFadyen

Janet MacFadyen is the author of two poetry collections and three chapbooks and managing editor of Slate Roof Press.