Poets Always Stay

Because Poets Always Stay

I spoke nothing I really thought anymore;

I’d been silenced.

I was leaving, this was not a place I could stay;

A dust track of chalk trodden down footprints,

End of the line,

Crumbs thrown at us, till I refused to pick them up.

And who was I to talk?

A teacher.

They had no voice.

They talked of SATS

And I was not listening.

My voice had quietened to a whispering jailbird of doom;

Or worse,

An angry morsel.

I spat out every modal verb and underlined it in red.

Red for blood, sweat and tear.

I tutted with every sentence;

With SATS on one side, and children without breakfast in their tummies on the other.

Eyes wide with poverty,

Imagination had been eaten away at their feet,

Spoken of but never heard, these dark-eyed children.

The noisy clutter of data collection, louder than any voice here.

Circles of pen marked points missed,

And number-fed rooms.

Time, space gone

Saved for nothing but tick boxes

And lines.

I needed time to breath.

This classroom air these days, a gas chamber chocking me with

A thousand twisted hands around my throat,

With tattooed fingers of bureaucracy

And paper lists,

I wrote.

I knew the poets sang;

Their voices were ever heard.

Repeated through the years.

And mouths watered for their soliloquies of hope.

And that,

I would dream of only that now-

To be filled up till I was full.

And I would share every fullest mouthful of that feast.

Full.

Words would find me.

And I would reach for them,

Until we meet again;

In love.

Again.

Find the poets!

The strongest voice above my head

As I looked up to heaven,

And it looked down on me,

Until I could not ignore it any more.

I had time to breathe and read the air

As it fed my soul-

A nourishment I savoured.

And now I could fill hungry heads again;

Replenished, renewed and rebirthed.

Poets found, made and told.

Not leaving; staying

Not gone; present

Not behind; in front

Not silent; heard

Not over; just beginning,

Because poets always stay!

 

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The Rwandan Refugee

The Rwandan Refugee

I am of Tutsis origin. My roots are gone.

My family hacked by Hutus hands,

On our troubled rubbled land.

I sit a part of this, yet am no part.

My body just another child;

Stunned, bewildered and beguiled,

Perhaps politically exiled?

Has the independence of 1962

Brought us only to Goma through a trial of governments,

Killed or crashed?

Lost to find an aftermath…

Thousands fled, missing troops

Part and parcelled bloodied troops.

My hunger added for their cause,

We did flee of course of our own accord.

The U.N stepped on our muddy road,

Tried to unburden our heavy load,

Yet solutions not to find they have,

Just easing tensions never to be eased,

And now again to Zaire we flee-

A homeland will we have again?

Who on this cruel dry life less terrain?

Nothing left to lose or left gain,

Our fight continues…

Mine for life, theirs to reign!

Theirs to reign!

Governments stepped in and out again,

Criticised twice, both moves in vain.

Help from ones unknown to me,

Consciences eased,

some people retrieved

But refugees still unrelieved.

The walk that we must tread as one,

I walk alone, in thousands,

home?

And now to live… or still die,

My loss, who’s gain?

And all this aid… for me in vain.

Remembering Rwanda from 1994.

Poem written in 1996

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