It silently seeps like Love Canal sludge
It goosesteps in blood like Ebro jackboots
It denatures the mob like deodorant sprays
It tars the philosopher like lowly lynch mobs
Give it a name; spray it on walls like a folksinger’s axe
It swamps reason like backwater slogans
It debases debate like a Nuremberg rally
It fascinates foot soldiers on pharisaic crusade
It empowers the mob in a stitchup of sanbenitos
Give it a name; shout to mosh pits like a folksinger’s tirade
It rewrites timetables in the smash of failure
It disappears history like names to dementia
It discards the eye-witness like Zyclon-B
It sidelines the poet like the sport of apathy
It chatters through Sandy Hook like a Second Amendment
It sinks in the Dead Sea like a Sixth Commandment
HELL’S BELLS GIVE IT A NAME
or can Your life power let it be?
We asked Peter whether he would like to add some comments to his poem. His reply:
I have intentionally omitted ‘its’ name because ‘it’ is whatever the reader thinks it is, and there is no one answer. There are many ‘its’.
Yes, there are many possible horrible inhumanities that have happened to the environment, the powerless, the ignorant, the oppressed, the heroic, the principled, the peaceful, the different, the persecuted, the saintly, the foolish, the meek, the enlightened, the gullible, the apathetic, the enslaved … that could/should be named.
Sometimes they are, and sometimes people forget or are unaware that they have happened before or are happening now, but does naming them change what has happened or what is happening?
Is naming them enough? Are they beyond our intervention? Can we do something to better our world, our local community, our organization, ourselves?
– or do I recognise ‘it’ for what it is, but believe it’s beyond anything I can do about ‘it’, and recognise that I have to ‘let it be’, for now or forever?
What do Friends believe? What do they do?