Shuna Anderson

Edinburgh 081

Shuna Anderson artist. Exhibition coming up in Edinburgh! Watch this space!

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People are suffering

 

I have to be careful what I write

What words I use

I must avoid names

I must not name names

It would be like a death sentence

In this country

Mineral rich land

Is given away

To a foreign power

For a few pennies

This power from across the seas

Needs land to feed

Its own people

It needs food security

But here the people

Who have roots in this earth

Are told to leave the land

So that plantations of sugar cane

Can be grown

Or other crops

To be sent across the sea

To feed other people

And if the people protest

They will be brutalised

Or worse

Rape is a weapon

In this war

And a silence rules

The country

Rock stars

Wearing sun glasses

See nothing

Or if they do

They say nothing

But tell the same story

Over and over again

Of how they saved

The people from drought

And meanwhile

The people are down trodden

In this jewel of Africa.

I cannot name names

That would be dangerous

For the people

That is the way with tyrants

The world over

People cross arms

In a sign of defiance

People are suffering.

Life in complicated times.

 

It was this place, in those days, those years

Rivers ran blackened as night in the valley

And opened coke oven doors lit the sky red

And green fields drowned in spit black spoil

It was this place where slow hunger and poverty

Stamped down, slammed its feet on the ground.

Children starved and mouths slept empty

Soup kitchens fed families hunger thinned

This place, this place where malnutrition and disease

Looked through every door, every window

And men marched to great cities to plead

Assistance for so many in a time of great need.

Men marched the length, the breadth of the country

And met the slit cold closed eyes of indifference

She told the stories of those days those years

And when it was her time to pack, to leave

She was small, just fourteen years of age

She was a small child travelling as a stranger

In those greyed days of the great depression

Think of a child travelling from a valley

To work in a grand bankers Chelsea Mansion

She spoke of survival, the cruel vicious lips

The vindictive unsmiling eyed housekeeper

Just because she couldn’t speak words of Welsh.

She worked as a maid for a florin, a few pennies

To send back home to her family in the valley

To support her parents, her brothers, her sisters

And in that she was like so many valley children

In that time, in that place in those years.

 

Excerpt from long poem.