a poem – by Sha’Tara
“It’s mine to think on, mine to decide, mine to know —
mine to act upon” – so she thinks alone in the dark
as the day wears upon the snows, rivers, forests and mountains;
upon bloodied cities of men and upon their children’s ghosts
as she conceives it all — the torrential flow of despoliation
filling every valley, leveling every mountain, drying every river.
“It is mine to do as I please in this respect!” Invisible
she stumbles through her thoughts, alone in the crowd,
jumbling the words that will not form the proper conclusion
she is looking for in her mind — “mine, not theirs”
she repeats endlessly as the fouled winds suck her breath dry.
“However unacceptable, however deformed, however strange,
my life belongs to me and me alone. It is mine.
Thus am I empowered to keep it, or to give it away:
who shall gainsay me in this? The gods?
Those who had me killed for my healing hands?
Those who said the Devil empowered me?”
“Perhaps the Devil rules this planet of the damned —
his works are plain enough for all with eyes to see —
but if that’s so, the God who craves humanity’s love
most certainly is drunkenly asleep on His crystal throne
with not one daring enough to wake him from his stupor.”
“So, earth, I ask you: if those in whom you trusted
have abandoned you to the ravages of entropy;
forced you to serve them as an aged, denuded whore,
will you accept my help this time around?
Will you speak to me if I bring you the wisdom you lost?
Will you turn your heart to me for the compassion I carry?”
“Will you this time accept the alien cast upon your shores
and agree ’tis time you should humble yourself
before the one who would pardon your waywardness
and teach you the one sure way to save your innocents?
Will you reject your false lovers, your handsome Powers,
your predators whose hearts carry the stench of death;
your oppressors whose mouths are filled with carrion?”
“Will you settle in my cupped hands as a wounded bird,
seeking refuge from your emptiness and loneliness?
Will you draw close to my open arms under the moon
when I offer you my life to heal your boils and open sores?
There is coming upon you and I the day prophesied
when the sun shall not rise as expected and the stars will fall;
when a poison of darkness will seep into your very marrow
and death will proclaim his victory over you and yours.”
“In your pride you said: “This shall never be.”
for the people said you were a goddess of power:
Gaia, they called you, and you accepted this false honour
though it never was yours to accept – and you knew it.
I just wanted you to know that I know – for it was said
that all things would be laid bare, even the deepest secrets
and they would belong to those who sought for truth.”
“Here’s my olive branch, wrought from my heart, my very life,
offered to you without strings attached: will you take it?”
And without waiting for an answer she continues her walk
whether to hall of fame or scaffold, she no longer cares
for now she sees it all and all makes perfect sense.
“Yes,” she sighs, no longer in weakness but in renewed strength:
“I will do what I determined, what I set out,
what I came, to do for ’tis I who since before time
carried the humble title of Gaia the compassionate.
I never lusted after power, I was, I am, I will always be
the giver of Life, the final rest for the innocent: