domingo, 27 de junio de 2010

Sam Hamill, What Good

What’s the good of it?
I mean all of this poetry
in celebration of
the first person pronoun.

Are we to be the authors
of a poetry without consequence,
a song of ourselves
that cannot hear
the cries of a world at war?

Can we not see the child
who pauses
in a field in Afghanistan
at the sound of a pilotless drone
high overhead

and raises weary eyes
to wonder if this is the plane
that will obliterate
her world? Can we no longer
hear the piercing, hysterical cries
of the mother
who finds her children’s bodies
in a ditch beside a dirt road
leading into nowhere?

Her assassins
bear our names, our banners,
even as we declare
our innocence of war crimes,
our good intentions.

What good is a poetry
that bears no testimony
from those we’ve stripped of name
and deed and voice? What good,
a poetry blind to perpetual war
waged against the world’s poor?

I want no more of it.
I want to cut out my tongue,
blind my eyes
to the stricken faces of child brides
and the good soldier’s dreams
as the bombs fall.

But I cannot be blind
to my country’s abiding shame,
nor to its exported terror,
the Death Machine
that decimates a world.

I cannot scream.
And yet silence
is not an option, not an answer.
Our wounds do not bleed,
but wounds they are.

And if there is no poultice
for such wounds,
no word of compassion
to begin a healing,
what shall be our future
except to repeat our past.

Weary, timid, we seek or settle for
gazing into a mirror as though
it were our soul. As if we could
simply wish it all away.
And what can come of it,
what possible good?

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