Sunday, March 19, 2006

No Story

This poem, on the truth-in-history theme, is one I wrote several years ago. What happens to all the people that the history books don't mention? Who tells the story of other ethnic groups, of women, of slaves, of the poor and the dispossessed, the ones who lost the wars? They are the ones who have:


We are the ones whose pages have stayed blank.
Our words, unheard, must have been vain imaginings --
For nobody responded.
We have no factuality, locked in the caves of silence,
While the world walks past untouched.

Does the invisible man exist?

We fall into the spaces between the words of history:
Like a falling leaf, or a dying star,
We are non-events of life --
Our names unknown and our agony unregistered,
Our pain dismissed as yesterday’s event
(If it ever had a meaning).
The gods of language frown on us.
We do not have the approved punctuation.
(When you write with your heart’s blood the calligraphy is poor)

What then, shall we return to the old allotted places,
Working the works of silence, hiding our stricken faces?

No, we shall write our words large
On the parchment of our labour.
We shall hear each other’s songs, and harmonise in wonder,
We shall reclaim the truth, it is not the merchandise of harlots.
We shall tell our sodden stories, recalling from oblivion
The shape of our darkest terror, the burden of our suffering ..
We shall lift them into the sunlight, these words of each other’s speaking,
And our listening ears bear witness
That we, too, have a story
And a truth requiring telling.

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