Sunday, July 15, 2007

Poetry Sunday: Silence is Violence

I wrote this poem specifically for "A Taste for Justice", an evening of poetry readings held in St. Albert to raise money for Amnesty International in June 2005. A version of it was published Fall 2005 in Rags, the Southern Alberta Journal of Creative Writing.

The title came from Amnesty International's 2005 campaign to stop violence against women. This link is for their current campaign.

We must speak out whenever possible. However small one voice may sound, it may be the one voice that makes all the difference to someone who is living in fear and listening for hope.

Silence is Violence
There is no other sound
but fist hurtling toward jaw
foot crashing onto stomach
elbow jamming into ribs
bone connecting with flesh

She does not cry out.
Her children might hear.
We do not speak out.
It is none of our business.

There is no other sound
but fingers tearing clothes
knees opening thighs
hard penetrating soft
body breaking spirit

She cannot cry out.
Village elders demand this.
We do not speak out.
We are half a world away.

There is no other sound
but the howling of her baby
the wailing of her mother
the weeping of her sister
the silence of the world

She never cried out.
Her last memory: bitter almonds…
We do not speak out.
Keep digging. Keep burying.

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