Citizen Ship 2013. Belfast. Nos. 18. My wee journey in words continues. Inspi…

Citizen Ship 2013. Belfast. Nos. 18.

My wee journey in words continues. Inspired by the Flag Protests in Belfast, late in 2012. I’m trying to work through my own thoughts upon symbols, emblems and the things that attempt to hold us down. Even the dogs in the street know how to bark. So what terrible beatings trained us to lie so silently, in the dust of our streets?

Here’s a new poem . . . So take a wee step onto the Citizen Ship, this small ark of words.

The Hidden Ground.

It is a lie
That we are simply two communities.
Cookie, cut.
One Irish, one British.
Two, set apart.
Set out upon this land,
Like chess pieces.
To do battle.
Like chattels and slaves,
Knights and knaves.
Played with, by our betters.

It is an absolute falsehood
That we should define ourselves
Through the merest of labels,
Like British and Irish.
For what does that tell us
About who we really are?
This shallow scar of knowing.

It is a complete sham
To look heavenward,
To some divisive hand.
To pick at who we are,
Like crows,
Sitting on different telegraph poles.

For we are still only crows.
Preening our feathers.
The sheen of which
Is the same blackness,
As if by some miracle,
Turned green or bloody red.
The flesh and blood, instead,
Of the one great crow,

Our wealth of collected lies,
On this island,
About who we are,
Is, by far, hard to calculate.
For, if gold, the very weight
Of these treasures
Would make us sink
Beneath our cold narrow waters
Like the broken backed Titanic.

But this shared wealth is not gold.
Rather, it is the dullest lead.
Pulling us down into the bog instead.
To preserve our lies further.
The brown water, like tea
About our teeth and toes.
Where do we lie?
Nobody knows.

We continue to sink
Into our denial, like an old easy chair.
Patched and moth eaten.
Forty shades of green,
Beaten into a ragged submission.
An awkward alloy.
A careful collusion.
For we’ve lost our posture
Amongst these lazy beds.
Fighting over fields.
One after another,
Concerning our origins.
The wiring in our heads.

But if we collected
All the truths about our origins,
Our blow-ins,
Our invaders, our leaders,
Our darker Darth Vaders,
We would be up to our oxters
In the gold leaf.
In the frame.

There, to be recognized.
The rich Autumn colours
Of rusty shapes,
And aged iron ploughs.
Once more, ready
To overturn our soil.
And plant new seeds
Amongst the hot white magic
Of the hidden ground.

The Citizen Ship.
Belfast 2013. Nos 18.
By Randall Stephen Hall
14.5.13 ©