Saturday, 7 February 2015

Rites of Silence, Fingers of Blame


Time and again, we feel inclined to silently lament how there is nothing we can do about this or that, while expecting someone to do something.

There is always something we can do, even if it is only to lend someone a helping hand or shoulder to cry on or (better still, more often than not) speak up for them.

Arguments rage worldwide while fingers of blame point to the damage humankind is inflicting on the planet. Indeed, there seems to be a majority conscience on the streets that something needs to be done…before it is too late for future generations.

So just whose ear does Earth Mother have, and how effective can we expect it to be, the voice of this majority conscience demanding our leaders listen to and respect our greater hopes and worst fears…and whose silence is deafening?

'Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.' - Haile Selassie

This poem is a villanelle.

RITES OF SILENCE, FINGERS OF BLAME

We've heard Earth Mother crying
dutifully considered speaking up often
but chose to say...what, nothing? 

Wherever our senses reaching,
(restless dreams, at work or play even)
we've heard Earth Mother crying

Finally placed on a war footing,
in all conscience asking we be forgiven,
but chose to say...what, nothing?

A welcome peace celebrating
an end to all battles hard lost, hard won;
we've heard Earth Mother crying

The politics of blame resuming,
pointing out certain voices that complain,
but chose to say...what, nothing?

Her weary vigil forever keeping,
world putting its interests second to none,
we've heard Earth Mother crying,
but chose to say...what, nothing?

Copyright R. N. Taber 2004; 2018

[Note: This poem has been significantly revised (2015) from a version that first appeared under the title Who’s Sorry Now in an anthology - The Bread of Life, Triumph House (Forward Press) 2004 - and subsequently in  The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised edition in e-format in preparation.]

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