The oppressors never teach their children About the oppressed, or their suffering. Instead they claim that they brought technology, Civilization, religion, as gifts To the colonized, the marginalized, The brutalized and the enslaved people. You have to learn to look between the lines At the imperfect feet of the statues, And the nakedness of half-truths and lies. Stolen land, stolen lives, streams of language Dammed, diverted, stopped. Whole cultures broken Into scattered fragments, gathering dust In museums. Hiding between the cracks, Waiting to emerge into the sunlight.
If we saw the brain As an elaborately folded flower Containing thought bees Nestling among the petals Searching for nectar We might think of the soul As the roots of that flower Drawing nutrients from the river mud.
See the world as a rabbit sees it. Wide angle view, Not straight ahead As a predator sees, But sidelong, as prey animals see.
Long shadows, Tall grass. Noting every hiding place. Ready to bolt At the first sign Of predators. Each breath taken Short and shallow. Darting from shelter To shelter. Grass here, Lettuce there. Sun is warm, Earth is kind.
None of the poems I read today Spoke into the depths Nor raised an answering echo. Petrarch, Chaucer, Donne, Whispering their plaints into the soft air Fell to earth, drifting ash. Nonetheless I wrote this, To record the ensuing silence.
The low cosmic hum Of all the stars singing the worlds into being. Who can know the thoughts of a star, Or how they compose The music of the spheres? What faults might stars commit That they fall to earth A bolt from the infinite, Becoming finite, massy? If they look upon the pale blue dot And hear the tumult, Do they not complain Of the marring of their music? Or is the discordant theme Woven into the greater music?
Just out of the corner Of your conscious mind Something lurks in the shadows: A half forgotten memory Surfacing from below. A shark or a whale Sliding through dark water. The mountain of a lost continent, Land of make-believe And childhood imaginings, Or some drowned feeling Covered in seaweed. Not quite reachable, Not quite visible, But it leaves a trace As it heaves through The dark oily water.
Yvonne Aburrow (8:28 am, 21 April 2022)
Inspired by the phrase “submerged peaks” in Great Ships by ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI translated by CLARE CAVANAGH