we are stalks that will bend
and bend and bend…
Jamaal May: A Brief History of Hostility:
That’s the old wisdom of the grasslands,
of the soft skinned trees – to bend
before the wind, not to be broken –
to bow down. It’s easier to bend.
I can’t blame the grass. It’s what I’d do,
my coward soul creeping, seeking comfort
in a full belly, a soft blanket, a lover’s arms.
I’d curl my anger into my own abdomen,
I’d whisper my rebellion
into my pillow, I’d carve my own skin.
It’s hard to stand upright.
It’s hard to be a bright light,
a song sung full-lunged,
a shining blade. It’s hard
to straighten the bent back,
to grow glorious.
Anmol is hosting at dVersetonight, and celebrating Black History Month. He asks us to take inspiration from some poets of colour. I’ve chosen some lines from one of his featured poems – Jamaal May’s A Brief History of Hostility.
When I was younger, I thought that if war or oppression came, I’d be a hero, standing up for what is right. As I get older, I realise how difficult that is, how easy it is to justify not standing up, not noticing oppression, turning away. But, of course, when you do that, you are siding with oppression.