Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Poem by Seamas Carraher

The Murderers Indicted

Murdered by schoolmasters: the shape of
geometry, our geography,
the art of bodies, their growth and biology,
both scrambled and unscrambling.
Murdered by schoolmasters
(with tongues twisted and ears deafened):
cultivation, the lives of animals, the
eloquence and statesmanship of trees,
the secrecy of secrets, their mystery,
this language we lost,
(more tongues tormented by schoolmasters)
and this mouth that lost it,
and loss, left now in its abandoning
and in its place,
left decent and desperate, survivors.

Lost to policemen and judges, history,
justice, our love of peace, freedom from revenge,
in a darkening sky this dialogue,
arms to wrap the human heart in,
lost now, continual and relentless,
to keep losing
in a time without hands
for all their cruel burning.

Murdered by the family: love, the
rhythm of breath in copulation,
murdered: this wife, her husband, these children,
(in a circling hardened in contracts)
the arrangement of furniture (physics and astronomy)
the creation and renewal of order,
its destruction,
the removal of dust from brains,
the human embrace, and these same arms
to hold it,
its protection, curvature, coupling,
and these arms, (these same strong arms splintered and
and in its place:
education, its repetition, compulsion,
dumb authority, and the boots of
the generals.

Lost to the shopkeeper:  arithmetic, instinct,
the light of brotherhood on this dark journey
road, pass and map of humanity,
the content of names, life and death, its simplicity.
Replaced by hunger, corrosive, logical,
accounted for, weighed, balanced, credited
and in their place:
dull creatures of theology, of religion,
of bargain and theft,
of profit and flesh in pounds and ounces,
in ingots, reserves and economies,
in world-bank and stock exchange,
in railroad and ovens,
no longer our human, nor love, nor loss,
only hair, teeth and gas, vermin,
in sales, reductions, starvation and famines

and the hearts sharing, ands our mingling hearts,
shipwrecked and ragged and in the dark night,
and the hand that gestures is murdering
and murdering it contains in its loss
and in its continuing with all my shells
its cold losing
and mine and ours, O my love, and all loss,
daily, eternal, relentlessly,
loss like a festering, perpetual,
like a theology.

Lost by all rulers, popes, bishops, and
the skill of wisdom
the love of truth
the nurturing of growth and its mystery,
the friendship of love,
the healing of sorrow
all the journey and our travelling upon it,
and in its place: rentmen, servants, landlords, surgeons,
and in its place: priests, accountants, clerks and doormen.

Lost ourselves by the weight and complicity of loss,
our own face, features both familiar and strange,
a place of our own, a home to nest in,
refuge, shelter, this heart and its feeling,
that other that is part of me,
that me who is circumnavigated by the other,
my own self and its other,
my coming and going,
and its parents, brothers, sisters, comrades;
lost my life and lost my death,
and in its place only dying, perpetual, continual,
like fog in its freezing,
lost all middles, beginnings, circumferences, limits,
all murdered, my desire murdered,
my length and breath dissected,
my ugliness sanitised and made sterile,
smell, sweat and sex strangled,
and in its place, (this roofless place)
these schoolmasters, this family, these shopkeepers,
surgeons, popes, bishops, all rentmen and officials,
marching in their coarse armies
across our dead breathing.

Lost, finally, in my murdering,
this simple mouth and its speeches through the teeth,
its longing for my returning,
wanting it back
in days without measure and the chains breaking,
and its longing and our returning
in our homeless way

Séamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956. He lives on the Ballyogan estate, in south County Dublin, at present.
Recent publications include poems in Bone Orchard Poetry, Istanbul Literary Review and Pemmican. Previously his work has been published in Left Curve (No. 13, 14 & 20), Compages, Poetry Ireland Review, Anthology of Irish Poetry and the Irish Socialist (newspaper).

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