JH (6 September,1962 / Sydney, Australia)

Mortar Boards

The ad never said
'Position Vacant
One heart to become
part of the bricks
cement and stones.
One soul - quick setting,
flexible, open to
future alterations.'
It's not real at the moment
It's a ghost bathed by a
different moon.
The trees are gentle spectres
hiding those rooms.
The grass is a carpet for an ego
which doesn't turn in upon
itself but almost rejoices
in its crushing.
Happy are those who are crushed
by buildings
Buildings which even in the night
have vague chatter
occasional laughter
a cantata of gossip.
How is it that these stones,
not even living stones
can grow and control
in the proportions of a monster?
The skeletons of the building
those bone coloured banshees
drift aimlessly with direct purpose.
Lit by the moon
they are the she-devils
pathetic demons.
They gather together to clap
as fingers strike wrong
and voices mutter self evident
in the belief it matters.
I stood quietly this evening
after hearing that it is a
blessed thing to be open to hurt
to love others even if they don't care
to fight for truth even if it is weird
I stood quietly, in the evening
and faced that magic box
I hadn't faced for so many years.
A different shattered mirror rock
watched this time...
I stood, in peace, o moonlit night
and the world, the life, the love
was in my hands
The suffereing so much greater
than that which I create
for myself
sat quietly before me
and I locked it away.
Shut, key turned, over.
Come, sit with me Jesus
be eaten by these mosquitoes
and consider it all in the
light of the mooon.
Go children, skip, dance, laugh
kiss with broken lips
place questions in my mind
and run away
before the answers threaten you.
I have been told it is blessed,
a blessed thing,
to become part of a building.
My sould, my heart, my blood
mix to become part of the concrete
and harden if they are to be useful.
So again I am a stone
littering a new lawn
that which was shorn
was crushed too
a while ago...
But flowers and candles
shall continue to be traded
and what does it matter
if I die in the meantime?
There will always be new hearts
to become bricks
and blood to wash
the mortar boards.

1 November 1990

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Langston Hughes


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