Knowledge by Kim Addonizio

Even when you know what people are capable of,
even when you pride yourself on knowing,
on not evading history, or the news,
or any of the quotidian, minor, but still endlessly apparent
and relevant examples of human cruelty–even now
there are times it strikes you anew, as though
you’d spent your whole life believing that humanity
was fundamentally good, as though you’d never thought,
like Schopenhauer, that it was all blind, impersonal will,
never chanted perversely, almost gleefully,
the clear-sighted adjectives learned from Hobbes–
solitary, poor, nasty, brutal, and short
even now you’re sometimes stunned to hear
of some terrible act that sends you reeling off, too overwhelmed
even to weep, and then you realize that your innocence,
which you had thought no longer existed,
did, in fact, exist–that somewhere underneath your cynicism
you still held out hope. But that hope has been shattered now,
irreparably, or so it seems, and you have to go on, afraid
that there is more to know, that one day you will know it.

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