Drummer Boy

I know it now,
or I knew it then,
rounding the bend
into a field of sunshine:
what kind of life it could be.

Not one
of speaking truth to power.
I am born of powerful
and dangerous men,
cocksure and confident.

No, I am here
to sway power
with visions of a
small child, running
through sacred spaces

leaping giddyingly
on a shaft of light
and giggling as it
runs through her mind
like melting butter,

chasing it around
the men in solemn prayer,
women waiting in shadow,
her vision disturbing quiet
as it dances in the stillness

of an ordinary day,
all afresh and new,
alive with possibility if
sunlight is how you dream,
dance, your way of life.

History’s Roads

I returned to the buddha tree today,
set ablaze by the white snow of
late spring sprung with daffodils
turning in long sunsets like some
endlessly infinite, recurring movie
played out over port meadow.

All but a few of the blooms are
already gone
blown away by the bitter winds
we had last week after she left.
Just sturdy green buds remain.

It’s achingly temporary,
all of it,
the beautiful suffering lot
of bodhisattva sat under
his spring tree singing
the perfect blossom.

I found a field next to the lake,
and sat like a statue watching
the still water, small eddies
tickling the surface with each
breath of wind as I made faces
and tempted the fates.

A tree’s branches whispered
‘let the past go’.
Not erase, forget, repress,
just ‘let it go’. Why fight
for sticks and stones and
the words of long dead men?

It is my history, too,
but don’t you see?
The shit on his shoulder
is part of the monument,
a momentary release meant
crudely to memorialise

the fight for freedom
long vacant, vanquished
by whitepink men equal
before only our own laws.
Let the statues go.
I, too, need less reminders.

History has brought me here,
far away to the centre where
spring is singing, ringing, winging
through pinkwhite trees while
the heady scent of happiness
hangs light in the hazy air.

History does not live in stones
or stanzas, but in your mind
as the world’s pulsing rhythm,
so let the statues go.
Build anew a beating heart
to the blossoming birdsong,
based on humanity, humility;
on the belief that we
can be better than the
men and women
we remember once being,
in long-ago ages when
the darkness was unbroken.