Zoic: sentiment


(Photo: Cornelius Cardew)


When we returned from exile, I arrived to receive
Not restitution, no respects paid, nor recompense — O, but
A mass gesture of dismissal, something cynical-naive
Reform which rang, we’re told, as right enough


Said reception roused me to
Another émigré who’d fled
With whom I made a rendezvous
And shared uneasy dread


Daybreak. I departed. Difficult to not get jaded.
Their countenances cast blameless guilt:
An innocuous insistence, born and barricaded
By impenetrable barracks which, during the war, they’d built


I met and asked our sullen, stubborn scholar
Into what totality our plight ought to resolve
How the here-and-now hears itself in history’s last holler
And through what motion might our moment’s misery absolve?


He curiously considered and
Receded to his thoughts and theories
Whose bleakness, being borne, began
In a hushed, harrowed, careful cadence:


That will not come;
Through arithmetic registered by which silk-diamond pen
Does oppression, you imagine, settle at a sum?
There is only the imperative:
It cannot occur again.”