Wednesday 24 January 2007

Where Once Stood Tribes

We like to think our generation is the most evolved, and of our ancestors as primitive; whereas in fact there are standards to which our ancestors adhered, in the light of which we are savages, unreconstructed and illiterate.
"Where Once Stood Tribes" is an expression of loss, for the things our ancestors knew and felt, that we have cavalierly discarded.

Where Once Stood Tribes

Where once stood tribes
who rose and fell
on the bounty of a living land
soul and soil intertwined
One blood, one heart,
of one mind,
muscle and sinew
rock and tree

now stand deserts
raized and mined
farmed not free and filled
with remnants of a glorious past
now dismissed
barbourous land
savage land
free land

Once here ran the young
chasing after quarry
wild whooping youth
training for the fight
with hunt and flight
stone blow
axe fell
arrow flew

Once stood Warriors
honour bound to those
whose small lives fed
whose small bones ground:
love of warrior
for the fallen enemy,
so sweet in pain
life in death
alive in death.

Who can judge
from these degenerate times
the free and brave?
Bearers of ancient honours
honour of soul
of strong arm
of strong back
of keen eye
of fleet foot?

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


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