the crosses, gowns, and graveyards
bones and birch-trees
noses, shackles, ropes
and we are left as
ash to fertilize the flowerbeds
ash to choke on
ash to spice the stews
ash to paint the clapboard huts
ash to pave the dirt road leading out of town
ash to pray for
ash as hope and penance
ash for breakfast lunch and tea
ash from bodies and from books
we are forever ash.
Linked to Anmol’s prompt on Black poetry month at dVerse. This is inspired (and short response) to Jamaal May’s long poem, A Brief History of Hostility.
February 12, 2020
devastating how we destroy ourselves. and for what?
ash for hope and penance – a form of redemption after intentional brutality – humans find a ritual pleasing after living lies
Oh my that gave me goosebumps. Ash to choke on, ash to spice the stews … Powerful stuff.
I feel honored to have read your poem. It was so strong and your words are still sounding in my head. ☺️
Heartbreaking to think of all the violence left out of our history books but recently coming to light. Not just the acts, but the extent of those acts. Your poem brings both to light.
Ashes to ashes… Powerful adjective, pyre-cold, and effective repetition of the different (ab)uses of ash.
wow I prefer your use of ‘ash’ to fire … very powerful!
OH! The sound and feel of “ash” here make me shiver a little. I like how you confront the matter directly and I love how this works so well as a response to Jamaal May’s poem.
I am reading and rereading this bit: “ash to pray for/ash as hope and penance/ash for breakfast lunch and tea/ash from bodies…”
This is brutal, yet truthful. And, oh, that painting.
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