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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Topsy Remembers


THE CHAIN TO HER LEG

If we forget Topsy
Topsy remembers
when we forget her mother
gunned down in the forest
and forget who killed her
and to whom they sold
the tusks the feet the good parts
and how they died and where
and what became of their children
and what happened to the forest
Topsy remembers
when we forget how
the wires were fastened on her
for the experiment
the first time
and how she smoldered and
shuddered there
with them all watching
but did not die
when we forget
the lit cigarette
the last laugh gave her
lit end first
as though it were a peanut
the joke for which she
killed him
we will not see home again
when we forget the circus
the tickets to see her die
in the name of progress
and Edison and the electric chair
the mushroom cloud will go up
over the desert
where the West was won
the Enola Gay will take off
after the chaplain's blessing
the smoke from the Black Mesa's
power plants will be
visible from the moon
the forests will be gone
the extinctions will accelerate
the polar bears will float
farther and farther away
and off the edge of the world
that Topsy remembers…

W.S. Merwin
 

Each evening, an invisible web of artists, musicians, writers, scientists and performers gather. Some are oblivious to the presence of the others, no matter. They work at their own tasks diligently, methodically and with much love for their craft. Each awaiting the appearance of the Dancer . . . . each aware She may not appear. The Dancer will not be summoned, She moves at Her own will. Night passes, blessing the devotees of the Dancer with small successes and insights. Some retire to their beds, discouraged, while others continue, moving with the familiar rhythms of their task.