Sunday, 15 August 2021

Sonali Pattnaik, Poetry 2021 Shortlist

‘free them’

free them, the truth-to-power speakers,
your jails will not break their tongues
or their flower hearts, the bees will find their way in
free them before they turn to fruits, seeds and manure
and a forest of truth grows where you emptied your bin
and the leaves, the branches, the bats, the owls
and stars and the descending night all tell their truths
truth- truth- truth- echoing in every mouth that you couldn’t plug
free them for they will multiply in voices heard and spelt
and the many limbs of truth will carry you
to the river of hell, chanting your misdeeds
hell is forgetting, free them those who live
in the righteous paradise of remembering
those who will not forget,
those who will not let us forget
free them, the truth-tellers, the whistleblowers
before you turn into an ear that can hear
nothing but your own the songs of your own misdemeanour
as they trumpets your guilt, a tunnel inwards turned
nothing but the sound of all the blood you took and once damned
when it’s capillaries burst that blood will roar
as a raging river around you
and you will be incarcerated within the seas of your sins
free them, those who will forever remain free,
prisoners only of their conscience
their words their wings;
free them because you cannot jail truth

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