The Song of the Eternally Caged
[a poem, from ~burning woman~ ]
Am I free?
or trapped in an illusion of freedom?
The song I sing this day,
beside the mountain on the River
is it the song of Joy I recall of pre-earth days
or the song of the eternally caged
of those trapped in the labyrinth of time?
Do I have a home?
Am I ever the outcast on the street?
This box I live in this day,
beside the street in this rumbling city
is it the home I would have built for myself
or a body’s parking place
waiting for someone to return – or die?
The world beckoned and I came
willingly, oh so willingly,
full of trust and wonder:
I saw what I took for an endless dance
until my eyes grew strong
and I recognized the chain gang —
it slogged sadly past my stroller —
no one looked when I screamed.
The chain gang’s dead and gone now
its chains rusting in rows at the end of its way.
It served its purpose, no doubt — and the guards:
those who wielded the guns, sticks and whips,
they are all dead too – their chains rusted with the others.
But I remain, I, too young then to put in the chains:
That, they knew, would wait another day.
And the day came — it always does.
They put on the chains and led me to the line.
That should have been the end of the story —
but a rebel taught me well and I remembered a trick:
the locks were simple to pick, the chains dropped
and in the honeysuckle scented night I slipped away
to sail upon the seas. Oh what a fool!
I learned to sing upon the indifferent breeze
as it swept freely upon open decks after a storm;
sad songs that filled my heart with doubt:
‘Twas there, looking at the stars, I heard, and learned
to sing the song of the eternally caged.
It floated up from slaves chained below decks
who dying, sang the songs from their lost worlds.