An SOS from the frontier.
This is a message from the borderlands
an endless void a windswept land
like all deserts stripped bare of features.
So I whisper the message – If you could have heard
all that I’ve heard. If you could see all that I’ve seen
if you could have been there, far out there and if you
could have listened to peoples words, listened to those
broken hurting people and that place out there, in here,
in me, in you. The dark frontier, that secret place you know
I know, we know, we all know, but deny its existence.
But for me there is no choice. I cannot deny its imprint
on my mind, my memory is not blind, deaf or unfeeling.
But I wish sometimes that it might be so. Now what do I do
with these memories, the words I do not wish to store,
and hold like some mad treasure trove, archive of horrors
of mankind, of humankind the stories told and told again,
The faces change but the pain and fear, the words remain.
It’s unending, it’s our narrative as long as we survive
this story will evolve and grow for we are humans.
I worked amongst the desolation, fragments,
survivors, of lives that might have flowered.
And that endless unknowing of what might have been
of who would I have been if that had not been done
to me, to who I was, a child, and unsuspecting.
Imagine the innocence and the quiet trust.
And all that time of working to heal – denial.
A total blindness to the reality of the harm
being done to children everywhere you look.
It’s a reality, take a bus or a train, sit in a café
you will be close to someone who has survived.
And then the guaranteed denial that fact is fact
In the face of all that. And then that sound
of wheels within wheels grinding, the noise
of conversations and the deals in closed rooms
to keep silence, to protect the perpetrators
and prevent the door room from being opened
and the truth from being known and shared.
Forty years of denial, obstruction and frustration.
Our lives are brief, a mere fluttering in time.
So open the door wide and let the light in!
Does this poem need explanation? Go somewhere else if you think it does.
From Rob Cullen’s collection “Uncertain Times” published September 2016 Octavo Press.