Poem: Captured in Exile

Mark Chagall's 'Love, War, and Exile' installation at the Jewish Museum

Mark Chagall’s ‘Love, War, and Exile’ installation at the Jewish Museum

truth bearers fossilize into museum pieces
trapped in inaction
they plant seeds in strange lands
pray for rain
and build rafts to cross the wide ocean
but the day never comes
for the land of their forefathers
is inflicted with ticks and thorns
they hide their disappointments in piety
and like naughty children
take refuge under shades of hollow laughter
they mourn for the masses
whose ears are closed
they trade lofty ideals
and gulp bowlfuls of ennui
but truth has become a charade –
a game of musical chairs
fit for the blasé, unfit for the critic
these revolutionaries of yesterday
prepare new beds for a revolution
but it never comes
for they have lost touch
with the ravage that their lands have borne
their questions no longer invite answers
their answers no longer the desires of their people
with suits and flavored speeches in conferences of ‘our rights’
their peace betrays the urgency of change
they take positions in academia
and teach foreign children the beauty of our culture
while our children munch fabricated tales
of our past as savage beasts in the wild
truth bearers stare their loud writings
their views are mapped on rose colored lenses
their countries are painted in black and white
their people are stuck in time – unchanging
in wait for a savior
but they are unwilling to make haste
to recompense the cries of their people
Where then is their bravery?
they are shadows of heroes long gone
their eyelids are not masked by battlefield dust
they cannot lead their brothers to safety
nor offer them solace
for that wisp of comfort in strange lands
has killed their anger.

Copyright Richard Oduor (2010)

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