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Village by Wanda Waterman St. Louis

Hello, there. You don’t know me,
Although you know my name I think
And can at times
Connect it to a face.
I’ve struggled to extend to you
Regard you have not thought to grant to me
But I have failed.

I’ve tried to think of all of you as real
To imagine that like me you love the soil,
Would die for your children,
That at night with your love your heart lifts up
Great wings and soars o’er
Worlds that welcome it
But I have failed.

And you have heard the funeral march,
The portly tuba’s oom-pah-pah,
The trumpet’s dirge, the flute’s alarm,
You too have heard him cry, Allah!
Allah! Allah! Allah! Allah!
The Afghan boy with the severed arm.
You’ve heard and gone on harming.
I’ve tried to understand
But I have failed.

I’ve tried to contact you,
To meet with you, to get a chance to
Share my fears with you,
To hear your fears,
To work together for good,
To give you one more chance to put things right,
To not shore up your crimes with my resistance hey
I failed.

Yet somehow I believe that you are good,
That stubborn in your hearts lives on
A longing for a village
On a hillside, in a valley, by an ocean,
A village in the raw salt wind,
Beside a forest,
Flanked with streams and trees,
A place of mud and meadows,
A place that smells of leather, hay, green wood,
Fresh bread, strong beasts, and soup,
A place where one must work at times
(And too, at times, must not),
A village full of friends and only good ones,
Where no one knows a blow,
Or slights the blessed air wherein she lives.

The sweetness of your yearning
Is your curse.
You blast it with coins and shells.
See both now lying spent and sinking fast
Into your largest captive’s wounded flesh.

Your fathers dreamed this village before you
While living at the feet of manic giants
(Giants who burned villages).
In new lands you found villages of friends
And with infected breath
Destroyed them all.
And later on, in Cameroon, Chiapas, East Timor such villages,
Those ancient royal sites which you unselved!

There will be many villages again,
In crook of bended knee and folded arm
Of the bones of that behemoth once hailed great.

Be silent now, be derring-do.
Be fearless, boys,
And dream your village true.

About the Author

Wanda Waterman St. Louis was born on a couch on Swan’s Island, off the coast of Maine, after a stormy ferry crossing. Ever since she’s felt as if her boat were tossed about and yet there is always some kind of new birth once ashore. She came to Nova Scotia with her family when she was four and has never moved away.

Wanda studied English literature at Dalhousie University and psychology at Athabasca. Her poetry has been published in Tigertail, Utmost Christian Writers, Mythic Delirium, ChiZine, Our Times, Descant, Skylight, Pottersfield Portfolio, and The Talking Leaves. In 1999 she won the George Elliott Clarke prize for drama for her stage play . A television series she created with film producer Daniel Matmor and actor Heidi Von Palleske (The Deadly Wake, Dead Ringers) has recently been optioned by Cirrus Productions. She was instrumental in unionising a workplace, for which she produced a monthly newsletter, The Union Maid. She produces a comic strip called Chronicles of Cruiscin Lan for Athabasca University’s webzine The Voice.

She is now a a singer of traditional Gaelic songs, a banjo player in an amateur dixieland band, and a freelance writer. She lives in a log cabin in the woods with her husband and two black labs.

Misty Ericson
Misty Ericson holds a BA in English & Comparative Literature from San Jose State University, California, and an MA History of Art from University of Leeds, UK. In addition to her work on HerCircleEzine.com, which she founded in 2005, Misty enjoys painting in her studio and restoring her home in the English countryside.
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