Untitled Lament

Untitled Lament

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the news now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

Once, it was quaking knees
rattling close to rapidly beating hearts
hiding in huts as torches cast shadows on the mud walls.
Those were the days when kings and queens
were mauled by greed
bound and turned to either build kingdoms
or feed the seas

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

Shackled hands and feet,
steel bangles,
ornaments rusted from the many previous trips,
Salty sea water mixed with excrement,
anointing the blood sore wrists,
ankles, throats and hips:
Rough cut wood makes for bad seats –
a feat impossible when crammed skin to skin between the slits.
Still, these ships never were.
Rocking along in sickness and stealth, till death us does part.
The deep crying out in horror as they borrow her winds
Sails assailing the state.

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

But when came the defacing?
when the placing of breath beneath bended knees?
when the pleas for Justice stilled
and the songs of hope abolished,
policed into the old abyss?
When the years long tears,
now gathered into salty seas
anointing blood soaked wrists as mother’s hold deceasing sons?
When the jogger judged and bullets free’d?
When sister’s at child-birth left to bleed?
Pharaoh slaughters chosen seed
as victim’s chained watch hate succeed.

Old terrors,
torches,
burning crosses,
ropes hung around trees,

Old terrors
lights,
sirens,
for handcuffs freeze.

Old terrors,
line ups,
highest bidders please

Old terrors
may I see some ID

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

Eroded now, the excuses,
Exposed by the steady light shone
On the stones upon which thrones still stand.
An eternal silence in the face of weeping sands,
Falling from one jar to the next
As the defacing proceeds.

Dirges for the living,
Sung from kitchens tucked away
As meals are served by unseen faces.

Doors to cars and cars to doors,
Glass for walls and floors – our ceilings –
Deployed to sell false dawns
As unofficial widows attempt to share seats at tables with the keepers of the keys.
Smiles masking the ease with which
The puppet strings are weaved.
The old mother deceived
As father, diseased from bonds passed on when conceived, watches.
And as the salesmen speak…
Sons take knees and fail to breathe

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

Must we, then,
Weep, strive, survive, and teach?
Must we, then,
Feeling the whip still listen, translate and speak?
Must we, then,
Alone forge peace amidst the great violence reeked.
Must we, then,
Be first to turn the cheek
Shining brightly when times are bleak?
Must we, then,
Lamma Sabach Thani;
Bare the thorny crown and preach?
Must we, then,
Practise hope amid deceit?
Must we, then,
Speak love when knees restrict the breathing?

From whence cometh our help?

Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes
Oh what shape the noose now takes

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.[a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered:
“Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,

until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.

And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

© Denis Adide 2020



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