America

She stands alone in the darkness,
Listening to the crashing of the waves,
Which once were a path to hope.

Nearby is an island,
Once traded for beads in a canoe.
Now she watches shiploads of trinkets,
Being traded for a nation.

She hears them use the words of their fathers,
Words used to pacify at home and oppress abroad.
Their sounds bring memories,
Their elocutors bring shame.

They use the words of their fathers,
But these words long ago lost meaning.
Like the bones of princes long dead,
Draped in regal attire.
They parade decaying corpses.

Believing the stories told long ago,
They walk around believing themselves free,
When they are slaves of ignorance, greed and apathy.

Your words have changed,
from “liberty” and “vigilance”,
to “rights” and “entitlements”.
You marginalise those who
follow the ways of old,
and reward the keepers of the status quo.

Like all here,
I am an immigrant.
Once I was proud to call this “home”.
If now I had my liberty,
I would up-root,
I would seek a place which espoused the hopes of your fathers.

Your greatest days are ahead.
The blessings of poverty and despair will be yours.
Already in your midst,
Soon you will learn the hollowness of words,
The honour of actions.

Poverty will bring freedom,
Suffering will bring compassion,
Sense of superiority and entitlement
Replaced by humiliation and necessity.

Freedom is within,
She whispers.
Freedom without integrity and insight,
Is a bird without wings.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
05 January 2013