Merril at dVerse has invited us to consider writing a poem about secrets.
Photo: Courier Mail: October 2019, 50 Climate Activists arrested in Melbourne.
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.” Che Guevara
The Secret Fantasy
To take a life
even for a cause,
how does one do that with any ease
that it never haunts,
eternally wounding the self,
twisting bowel and heart in
feverish spasms of regret,
causing clever mind plays
of robust justification,
all those greats who advocated
against that dark horror
even baring their own chests to
the chance of bullets
and my life has been persuaded
of that very path, and yet,
there are those days of longing
to come out of Kinshasa,
to leave the mountains of Bolivia,
to wear the beret once again
and to strike at the heart of the
corpulent monster strangling the world.
Photo: Getty Images. Princess Dianna sitting with amputees, victims of landmines, Angola, 1997. Dianna as many will remember ignited opposition to the use of landmines which resulted in the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and drew attention to the work of the Halo Trust whose work is clearing mines and advocacy against mines and weapons of war. She had that inner beauty, photos of her shaking hands with lepers, sitting with HIV sufferers, visiting homeless shelters and os on. I’m not a monarchist, but her work was of a different order.
“I’d read the statistics that Angola has the highest percentage of amputees anywhere in the world … that one person in every 333 had lost a limb, most of them through land mine explosions. But that hadn’t prepared me for the reality.” Dianna Spencer
So beautiful, those legs, her …
And such a mind, but O her heart,
her beauty drew the cameras,
merely a stage for the inner beauty
of her compassion for the world.
“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.” Tacitus
The husk of man,
for it is a man rather than a woman,
is forever drained and dry,
burnt in the blinking of an eye
across the fields of loss and grief,
where the butcher’s hand is never stayed,
and the slice is always close to the bone
with the relentless search for
the cure of fear, which, as always
readily falls to cycles of war,
now favoured by the killing of a man
who was food as friend,
and sent to to the heavenly realm
of the great cloud of witnesses
who pray over our esteemed
and utter madness for blood to be
wasted on the unforgiving rocks of dogma.
“Chess can be described as the movement of pieces eating one another.” Marcel Duchamp
Is Nothing Learned?
Knight takes bishop,
queen takes knight,
pawn takes pawn and
blocks the rook,
on and on
and so it goes,
tit for tat
soon everything falls,
is nothing learned,
is no one heard?
It’s not the winning
or a surrender,
and I hope,
it is letting all things be.
Photo: Auschwitz 1, the former Polish army barracks which the SS commandeered as a prison for Polish army officers, Poles, Jews, subversives, and others. This is a substantial complex of brick multi-story blocks, unlike Auschwitz 2, which was mostly wooden blocks. I found the place sombre and still, a place of confronting horror. This is the place where the Catholic priest and subversive Maximilian Kolbe exchanged places with a young Jewish man because he was a husband and father and had a future to live. The commandant agreed to the exchange. Kolbe was starved to death, although he was given a mercy injection after three weeks.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel
Life Became Him
Quietly he ventured an offer to
the commandant lusting for reprisal,
one young father not ready for some version of heaven,
and persuaded, the commandant exchanges the two,
the priest is starved in the doorway of eternity.
“I dream of giving birth to a child asks, ‘Mother, what was war?'” Eve Merriam
How simple to hold,
extend a branch towards hope,
how easy to cut the tree down
and offer striped pyjamas
and barbed wire,
to be disappeared,
that none flourish.
“War does not determine who is right – but only who is left.” Bertrand Russell
Never have the vainglories of death
been so exposed as in the spectre of war
where truth is so relentlessly sucked dry
by the ghouls of righteous capital,
so cheaply purchased by the blood of innocents,
for those who would never near the fight
as to get their morals dirty
nor their boots,
they are the ones who would kill their own
for the sake of a few inches of sand
and forty pieces of silver.
“All war is a symptom of man’s (sic) failure as a thinking animal.” John Steinbeck
As Poppies Weep
How best can you die and
at what hands might that be,
how excruciating can we make it
of bullets, shells and gas
lost in the thick of bloodied mud
and barbed protections
that betray any sense of humanity
certainly not animal because
animals know better than we,
how is it that we,
the thinking species,
slit the wrists of
and dare to call it glory,
and for what,
some politician’s ideological orgasm
where there are no gasps of ecstasy
only sobs of grief and despair
as poppies weep for the seed of youth.
Note: I observed “Jack” many times but never got to know him, in one week he never got to the shops because the trucks would sound explosive when they hit a rut or drain cover and he would stop, stand to attention, wheel about, and march home again. Shell shock/PTSD had wrecked him.