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"Only the Landscape Knows"
by Emmanuel Sigauke
2007-09-28 10:14:55
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Let me whisper to the bush, guardian of my home
let me proclaim the message of arrival
in this time of war
let me not leave any stone unturned
let me whisper to the bush
let me say:

Only if someone had
spared the children,
only if someone had
convinced them to wait
wait for my arrival
they would smile
smile about my return
and fill the void. Now the void sings
the vile chorus of the song of war.

Let me whisper to the bush, acacia tortilis,
that knows the little feet
that once scuttled in the yellow dust of inexperience;
let me whisper to the bush, even one word,
for the bush does not whisper back
the bush has heart of stone
igneous heart of remembrance
granite slab of hope, remembering
little bodies gleaming in the sun
outshoots of potent ambition
when their bearers said
let us leave them, let us leave them
vestiges of the crime of living
to drag this rug, drag it to far corners of the earth;
outer reaches of experience.

We have seen the world, we have crossed oceans
we have flown with steel wings
we have lived in strange lands
but now we are returning to Rusitu Dreams
and like the water of rivers rushing to fill
we can now howl our presence;

but I want to whisper to the silent acacia
let me whisper to the all-ears bush
before I muster the courage to arrive.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-28 18:01:45
Houseman's apt quote on the cover brings back to my mind that strange phenomenon observable in academia: a professor will take an epic poem, choose a few lines from it and proceed to demonstrate a particular literary theory. For weeks at a time those lines will be dissected, deconsctructed, analyzed, debated to death, overationalized, everything but tell the students to go home and simply read the poem aloud and enjoy its beauty. At the end the poem has conveyed nothing to the student because it has been effectively murdered by a barbarian of the intellect, allegedly an educator, conveying knowledge (for "knowledge is power") but contemptuous of beauty. Ah, the wonders of rationalism!

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