Thursday, 4 February 2016

One life - Inua Ellams

In a farm in Mexico, a grain of corn
is armed with faith. Half covered with soil
it trusts the wind will guide it water, waits
as sunlight plaits itself into photosynthesis,
germinates and listens for the world’s pay.
Words play out. Two men squabble over
price, harsh language like rubble tongue-
tumbles, the argument bursts, bullets pop
like corn till blood waters the soil.
Worms wade in the reddened wet earth.
A sudden shadow. A swallow swoops.
Blood speckles the beaks of birds,
they feed their young who grow now,
towing this murder’s song that’s chirped
from spring to summer long.
One hundred people learn this wrong,
so speak yesses like locust swarm, ask
that changes come. But cameras only turn
for the spectacle of spectacle, nothing
of great importance comes, nothing
for the fallen ones who subtract
from tolerance, add to outrage.
Simple maths gets harder with age;
multiply hand-grenades with an album full
of families, the sky by missiles, the ground
by death, divide by oil flares and it’ll equal
this: where charged hearts lead to fahrenheits
in foreign heights, chains to blindfolds,
hoods to shackles, light turns to a torturous
thing that burns memory, blackens thought,
churns to a vengeful melting pot.
What becomes us when peace is scarred,
compassion is barred and simple as
to love is hard?
Yet love makes strong.
It comes even in the murder song,
we breathe it in mouth-fulls, filter out with
lungs, a finer gust we trust to blow long,
that whiles by silent, whooshes by wrongs
swells and falls in this chimera of a poem
formed where condom rappers split, Haiti
burns, someone scarpers, a match box
rattles by Downing St. A gossip magazine
rustles rubbish, an alarm blips, two lovers
grip, an orchestra plays a song of soiled
strings, a choir outcries, a fat lady sings.
Against these unordered odds, one wish
drives us all, the only one that’s ever been,
the hope, that through these torrid things
against such careless hate and hostiles,
a new born braves for a borderless world;
and one life wins.

(for Matthew, Eska and the Choir)
Inua Ellams (born 1984) Nigeria

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.