Brian Felder

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The Lesson of Riley Howell’s Short Life

I have less difficulty
understanding the actions
of those who do bad things than
I do with the inaction of those who
purvey boldness but remain frozen in place,
who say nothing and do less to change the outcome.

It is why I so admire
people who place themselves
between the shooters and the shot,
who die bravely trying to improve the odds;
this in preference to a life of living it over and over,
always asking yourself why, when you had the chance,
you did not speak up, did not act at all, to make it end better.

We know the truth of Edmund Burke’s observation
that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing, but we also know from
this student’s sacrifice, that there will always be good people
who will stand up and be counted, who will place themselves
in harm’s way for the benefit of others, that being the lesson of
Riley Howell’s short life.


Brian C. Felder began 2019 ~ his fiftieth and final year in the poetry biz ~ with a lifetime batting average of .283, which is to say that he has seen 351 of his 1,237 poems published, these appearing in 135 different print magazines in 39 States and the District of Columbia.