States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'What we have been told' by Kevin Brophy

 we know that the sun comes up when we pray,
that it's here to bless us every day,

we know that communists boil children
to fertilise their socialist fields,

we know that Italy has the most beautiful
secretaries in the world,

we know that there are giant rats swimming
in the Tiber,

we know that the heads of Royal personages
rattle when they fall,

we know that drugs are merely chemicals,
and happiness is a chemical too,

we know that the Virgin Madonna was too young
to be a mother,

that Joseph was a hundred years old at least
and should have known better,

we know that dictators go weak at the knees
when US dollars are crisp and new,

we know that slavery is still a preferred arrangement
for the most successful capitalists,

we know that eleven o'clock on a Sunday morning
can be the most segregated hour in the week,

we know that children will hug to themselves
the bombs that kill and cripple,

we know that somewhere soon a last wild cat will stalk
past an automatic camera,

we know that hatred is its own relentless river,
pushing us with it,

we know what it means to stand in our shoes
with the truth at our backs and another in our eyes,

we know what we read in the news could be true,
but that all we've learned can only mislead us,

we know the facts we know keep changing their colours,
their loyalties, names, addresses and income,

we know that the buttoned-up banks are our true confessors,
fattened on the grease of our secrets and sins,

we know that the bats swooping in
to hang from the trees that line rivers of lies

must be blind,
and we too will close our eyes at last when the long evening comes,

we know that the soul
is a myth, that our hearts might stop beating so hard

if we could close all the doors and shut up the windows
and seal up our homes and turn up the heaters,

we know that the wolf falling from the building in front of our eyes
is a message we can never be sure we've received.

 

Kevin Brophy

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