You broke silence to speak
Through people
From the wrong side of the tracks
Using foreign words we can’t make out …

Tu as brisé le silence
Par la bouche de gens
Peu fréquentables, de langue barbare
Que nous ne cernons pas

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Today this is
A barbed and wounding word
Seated angular and cold
On a shelf way out of reach
However tall the ladder …

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Leaves with brown paper veins
Have succumbed to dry earth
And the neglect of the sad
For months touched only
By the movement of dust
In the rays of an improbable sun

Hope hung heavy
When the world closed down

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Roadworks and the anxious
Shout of inner voices
Fills all headroom
With concrete

Absence of noise
Dissolves the mortar
Pours back the oxygen
Of liquid air

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There is the silence of air and space
In which breathing is a momentous act
And contemplation stretches like a long beach in the sun
Of limitless horizons

There is the muffled deadness which descends
Like the padded ceiling of a too-small room
Left windowless to the imagination
Which can no longer sing

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Your name weighs heavy on the tongue, some days
It has been taken hostage by a foreign power
And rendered unpronounceable
Light years away from those simple lines
Traced in Aramaic on red sand
That say, without pretension, ‘I am here’

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This year
May we risk believing
That old bruised fruit
Can grow new skin
That the tables in our temples
Can be overturned
Dust shaken from rugs
Threadbare and worn
Their colour renewed

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Into the absence
Inert chaos of nil
A word falls
Fires the cosmos
With pure presence
Extracts from grey nonbeing
Energy of light
Divides it from the dark

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I drag my case over the man-made border
Between one year and the next
A sleeping policeman
Lying in the road
Marks time in yellow and black
Opens an eye and speaks

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