FOR MOTHER AND CHILD

Why wake him?
You woke to nothing,
do you think he won’t?
Your hand will guide him firmly and away,
your lips will teach the nonsense he will say,
your sins on him
every day.

At best,
he’ll pass the test
you failed,
but where you won
will be undone.

At worst,
putting him first,
you’ll chain his mind
to you in front and you behind.

At worst/best
you pierce his blessed darkness,
take his vision and fix his sight
on the broken splinters of your light
unmercifully shining:
a savage in a hole
dragging the sons of light
to gaze at shadows on a wall.

It’s not the tomb
that leads to hell,
it’s the antiseptic smell
that opens on the womb.
There are the white-coated
and the flower-carriers
smiling in their blindness
goaded on by kindness.

Always, behind the chalk,
the cruel admonitory talk,
the printed notice and the pen,
the forcing on to make them men,
– the kindness;
the blindness-kindness,
the training of all that can be trained.

Do they not realise
that building is for gods?
Cannot even the wise
think it odd
that a man must slave
for what he cannot have?

Is it left to be the knowledge of the few
that life is only something to be got through?

You needn’t wilt
or tire,
nothing need be built
any higher.

 

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