Sunday, April 30, 2017

Poetry Sunday: On the Fifth Day

The new administration in Washington has inspired many forms of resistance and protest because of its efforts to roll back history and repeal science. It should not surprise us that poets have taken up their pens in protest as well. With a hat tip to The Washington Post where I found this poem this week, here is Jane Hirshfield's take on the subject.

On the Fifth Day
by Jane Hirshfield
On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
 
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.
 
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
 
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
 
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
 
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
 
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
 
Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
 
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
 
They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

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