Published in  
October 29, 2014

By the hands of poets

New moments, for good or ill, are summoned by the hands of the poet.

It is her stories that brood on the debris of fallen cities, upon carcasses betrayed overnight; it is her gaze that alights upon forbidden treasures; it is her fingers that clasp open the bloody matrix to other dimensions; and, it is her scream…her fainting gasps that reinvents us, over and over again. In Eden, she gives birth to the lore of a temple lost, a nation found; in wartime, she is the rallying cry that strengthens men’s loins and reminds them of battles won in mythic pasts; at the shores of a conquered continent, she creates savages who need schooling and development and order, and simultaneously weaves their lords and saviours out of the ones who have just arrived; she is the frightening scarcity, the aloneness that legitimizes our borders, our money, and our wars. She is the weapon of the saints, and the excuse of the damned; the memory of a people and the craft of scientists. I used to ponder the origins of what we conveniently call ‘reality’ in times past. I am many leagues away from that preoccupation now: I know now that my sense of self, my histories and that of my people, the birds of the air and the mountains beneath the sea, my hopes, my dreams, my ideas of what is possible, my sense of good, bad, and all the more important things between them – all of these – are bidden by the hands of poets.

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