Friday, October 19, 2012

Penance II: Inspired by Anne Sexton






— Inspired by Anne Sexton's poem "The Truth the Dead Know"




Why should we forgive the dead?

When did they ever grant mercy to the living 
or surrender to their places beneath the soil?

Still, it would be more beneficial 
to simply let go.

They will lie without shame while hovering 
above our aching hearts, digging deep under fragile skin,
causing distortions of memory to erupt 
from delusional reckonings that haunt each breath.

Their dire demands tighten around our throats, 
defeating voices that would protest,
could we only find the strength to speak.

They destroy the silk of dreams
and rage with fire. 

It requires a gentle hand 
to rub wild wounds left behind in the forest 
we separated our true selves from - 

these scars seep ancient blood,
stain the land with rust.

As we bow our heads over parchment, 
morose with regret,
our fingers shall weep,

succumb to the knowledge of what we've done, 
what's been done in our name.