Today in Australia we have a stalemate with the issue of Asylum Seekers, Refugees. and Boat people. We have had incidents of horrible things happening because of powerlessness. Stitching lips together, burning themselves alive, riots and destroying things. When one has no hope one reacts how one can.
This poem was first published in Eureka Street, a Social Justice Journal. I hope this poem has a voice for anyone who reads it, for “evil thrives under silence” is a line towards the end of the poem and that calls each of us to be awake and to be prepared to stand up and be counted. It has been said “when good people do nothing evil triumphs” In the movie Milk , they quote Martin Luther King, “To ignore evil is to be accomplice to it”
At the Jewish Museum in Sydney my breath was taken away by a wall painted with the words:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
this poem is about silence
words get in the way of silence
it needs a blank page
it needs space
in silence there can be longing
there can be anticipation
intimate or hostile
you can hear it
in the pin-drop moment
between bow and string
you can feel it between breaths
the inarticulate uses violence
is this silence?
can you say the sharp sickle moon
that glows on a dark winter sky is silent?
when one turns their back
silence is palpable
and what of silence imposed in fear?
silent protest is loud
when the powerless stitch their lips together
with needle and fishing line
is this silence
even as tears fall?
evil thrives under silence
a poem about silence
needs to be loud
to be heard