Thursday, 27 July 2017

Rise, Like Vixens



The shock of the vixen woke me up, called me out;
butterflied on tarmac,
her fur still fire,
the red...
free of all this, someone said.
Her perfect ear, still listening.

Or perhaps the dog fox who opened me, brought the tears;
a sacrifice, a sacred heart laid bare.
His perfect foot, still seeking earth,
expecting grace.
I don't know which it was
but I do know that we're all crushed.

I'd been thinking about our boys, our men.
Suicides, sent to war.
Is it all the same to them?
Sacrificed, their sacred hearts laid bare.
Listening to Akala, Shakespeare in my head.
It doesn't matter how it happens
they still wind up dead, rotting a prison cell,
drugged up in a psychiatric bed.
And it's greed that holds the gun, pulls the trigger,
starts the car, lifts the hammer, drives in the nail.
It's we who point the finger, weave the thorns,
to crown another son.
And a child in Gaza loses their father to the bomb.
Suicide, a holy war?
It's all the same to them
and Star of Bethlehem has fallen,
flowering on the graves of our broken men.
Chester got too Numb,
Chris stepped into the Black Hole Sun,
and the Arms Fair at Docklands is still raining money.
For some. While the children of the poor are sent to war
enslaved to die in deserts screaming for their mum.

Women, root and rise, like vixens,
'cos there is no justice, there's just us.
And Rhiannon isn't stopping, Blodeuwedd has flown,
Inanna's fallen from her throne,
the Magdalene is named a whore, St Pega's banished to the Fen,
and the Military Wives Choir are singing out their hearts
with missiles falling on their men,
while, outside, foxes are dying, and the stars are going out.
And it's greed that holds the gun, pulls the trigger,
starts the car, lifts the hammer, drives in the nail.
It's we who point the finger, weave the thorns,
to crown another son.

But he was once our baby, called us mum.
He was once our lover, called us hope.
He's the bullied teenager who tells us he can cope,
tucks the knife in his pocket before kissing us goodbye.
Is the best that we can manage to stand and cry?
Because we need to remember who we are;
we're the warriors who stood up to Rome, let loose the hare,
fought on the shores of Mona with madness in our hair,
defied the witch-hunts, fanned the flames,
we're the children of the women who could not be tamed,
led the protest, screaming “not in our name!”
We're Rosa Parks at the front of the bus,
Dorothy Stang speaking out for poor and land,
reading out the Beatitudes as they raised the gun.
We're the nuns with the dead men walking on Death Row,
building wild chapels in the path of the access pipe,
indigenous women shouting, “Water is Life!”
We're the priestesses who would not back down,
Greenham Common women holding hands around the base,
Women in Black by the West Bank wall.
Whatever made us think that we were small?

(Jacqueline Durban, 25th July 2017)


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