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.
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?
What is the fulcrum of your life? Do you keep it in that drawer of odds and ends Near the sink? Or the basket of mismatched wool and thread That sits neglected under the bed? Does that old key still have a matching lock? What about the oddments sitting quiescent In the basement, gathering dust? Are any of these the key to your dreams? The one lever that would make you turn And view your life from a new angle, Or lift the carpet that hides the stain on the floor? What is that different fulcrum, That would turn your face to look up at the stars Or down at the flowers around your feet?
Yvonne Aburrow 9:34 pm, 18 April 2022
Inspired by the phrase “that different fulcrum” in Making Peace by DENISE LEVERTOV