Requiem for Nice

On July 14, 84 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured during a Bastille Day terrorism-style attack in Nice, France.

The attack involved a 19-ton truck being driven into a crowd of people while perpetrators fired upon civilians. It marked the third major act of terrorist violence in France in the past year and a half.

As he has done in the aftermath of previous international tragedies, Oklahoma author James Coburn penned a poem — capturing in verse the raw sadness and human emotion that once again circled the globe.

— William W. Savage III

Requiem for Nice: The French Riviera
By James Coburn

Smoke creeps
already dead so not afraid to die.
Collected from centuries of affliction
a redolence of graves
hangs on stone and mortar,
tipping steel bullets
and the terrorist’s tongue.
Smoke creeps.
I sing a song
empowered by thunder
and rivers of air.
A dark fog passes low on the street.
Pieces of smoldering angels
gather in the mist, fallen.
Families celebrate Bastille Day.
Joy as bright as starlight
meets rampaging eyes within truck.
Lives lost but starlight remains
on bodies covered gently
by kind strangers,
family and friends.
Love faces the smoke
amid the lifting of souls
passing through the grime
clinging to itself.

Coburn’s last poem regarding terrorism was read, recorded and presented to the U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh. That recording has been embedded below.



Requiem for Bangladesh — Fight hatred with words by James Coburn

(Editor’s Note: NonDoc publishes poetry from authors around the world, often as a part of our Sundaze series. We provide Sundaze as a weekly space for poetry, short prose, visual art and other ideas pitched by creatives in Oklahoma and around the world. All submissions are encouraged, and new creatives are sought. Submit your work for publication by contacting

James Coburn is an Oklahoma poet, photographer and journalist. His first book of poetry, "Words of Rain," was a 2015 finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards. His work has appeared numerous anthologies. A long­time journalist for The Edmond Sun, Coburn is a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.