Inspired from Testimony, by Seamus Heaney
We were slaughtering goats when the
white men came.
Just like any other day, a breeze,
rain showers, sunshine and
a herd of wailing choirs over near
the camp. At the beaches, they’d
have heard the echoes of
drums running along the wind.
With the help of rival tribes, they’d
observe our scintillating silence,
looking on like murders of magpies
identifying which ones to steal.
Lines of them, in fast forward, drawn
swords, lording over us like we
should be grateful.
Floating fortresses, and row boats, and
train tunnel guns. Crimson hands
and burgundy legs. Grinning ghosts.
Not that I knew then we’d live a
life in chains, as we stood there
like schoolchildren in trouble, whilst
the headteacher went for his cane.
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