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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Boxes

Egypt in crisis as death toll rises

1

her name was innocence,
and she died today,
with that mother and child,
     she was wiped away
from that young boy's bloody brow,
buried quickly, with no prayer
or wake to celebrate
that she was ever here,
     she died today, but who will know?
who will remember her
as some distant dream?
     and who will mourn
all that she could have been?

she was innocence
and you cut her up,
and you stuffed her
in little boxes never to be found,
you dishonoured her
as a born heresy you crucified,
     stamped her tiny body
into the ground; and shunned her
like the cold from outside,
     and like an unwanted daughter
turned your back on any talk of her;

but she was your child,
and you killed her without a second thought,
or single glance into her eyes,
     for had you looked, you would have seen
all the tears she cried were not for her,
     but the child her father had been
who had died inside
through the neglect of time,

2

and what had been her crime?
a babe in a cradle
snatched by a wolf at a door
     which you had left open;
to disappear into the dark forests
and gaps of your wisdom,
     to kill her with your convention
of violence fathered
by the senseless death
of your own innocence;

and born innocent and new,
what had she ever done to you?
     but like knowledge gives to ignorance,
give you a nipping eager air;
     a giver of words
but no overseer
of who takes what
to where -- yet you trussed her up
in the battlements of your mind -- safer, then, to put her
in a small space drawn out by fear,
     safer to bury her, then, and be her murderer,
rather than be so afraid
of all she could have done;
     so bury your daughter deeper than any hope,
as deep as any hole made
by the bullets of your father's gun,

3

and what of her mother?
who silently mourns her, yet did nothing
but stay only as far as her own mirror,
     to peer no further then her own face,
or to paper her nursery rooms
with the only colours she knows,
     and to grasp her remaining son
to her bosom and milk him
into a cliché,
     into a poem like this,
which has no worth or say
to make us change our ways
and allow innocence a stay;

and what of this poet?
who is ashamed of this day,
and of himself for being witness to it,
     and for knowing wisdom has no word
or life worthy to give
in place of that mother and child
to make any sense of it;
     so all he can do is uselessly write
her name is innocence and she dies today --
and past that point comes the silence,
where there is nothing left to say.

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