Poem

This Land Our Song

I have never heard the song of our spirit,
the anthem of sierras and savannas,
the roar of our freedom and destinies,
seem so faint.
A brook stands still.
A forest windless.
The skylarks wait in anticipation of dawn,
the night a long and relentless black.
Adam and Eve step naked into the fruitless briar.
A child walks an empty, pot-holed street,
looking for mother, looking for shelter, looking for seeds.
Screech of wild.
People run. Footsteps silent.
They yell something. The air distills, hot, silent.
The laughing man didn’t laugh. He smirked.
He smirked, and we ran into the foothills,
others hid beneath the floorboards,
others just stood in horror.
He asked for quiet so that only he may speak,
to mock, to mutilate.
I have the Midas touch,
and so you should let me touch you
—he smirked.
A dancer stands still.
An organ windless.
Canvases empty of skylarks, empty of nests, empty of trees,
a sterile and toneless white.
O music of the soul that nourishes our land,
you are as faint as a night’s horizon.
I try to match your pitch, but I can hardly hear you.
I can hardly hear you, and still I sing.
I sing so that others may hear, so that others may join.
I am trying to honor the dead poet’s words.
He said, “Bicho, God never wanted us to enter Heaven one by one—
Jericho, Jericho, Jericho!—
he wanted us to knock down those gates
with a march and chorus, singing we are one.”