Alma Mater

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by Lyra Fiske
Alma Mater
 
I have almost forgotten
What free thought is
 
Forgotten the smell of incense
Of blueberry-scented candles
The taste of tart-sweet autumn cider
And bitter winter in the Berkshires
 
I have almost forgotten
 
Of acrimonious debate
Absolutism while challenging absolutes
Fleeting kinship
I was finding me
Yet eclipsed by others
Mirroring what I was running from
 
Of raw delivery
Screams both pleasure and terror
Rape poems, so many of them
Hiding in plain sight
 
Of confusion so profound
The dangerous lines had been crossed
Into more danger
It was all up for grabs, anybody’s game
Or so it seemed within those walls
 
The oppressors became everyone
Mistrust gave way to censorship
Same as the dreaded traditionalists
But you mustn’t speak of this
 
How far can you go?
Can you hate enough?
Can you love enough?
Question everything
This is how history is made
But also repeated
This is how we destroy and build anew
We didn’t learn in high school what really happened
To Native Americans
To Mexicans
To Blacks
To slaves
To South Africa
To Jews
To Japanese Americans
To Latin America
To Puerto Rico
To women
To gays
To assassinated leaders
 
What we couldn’t change became torture
Please stop, no more
 
An unknown fear gripped me
Turning away classified papers
I don’t want to touch or even look
And meet the fate of Hoffman, Silkwood
 
Who knows what is known
Who knows what was done
The monster sleeps for a time
Then awakens
Some are brave enough to face it with swords drawn
And some don’t survive
 
But passions create other monsters
Righteousness turning to fists
Awareness accelerated, driving people apart in paradox
And who will slay these monsters?
 
To rectify the last 500 years
The last 5,000 years
A daunting task
That needs to start small
In the sandbox
 
I have almost forgotten
What free thought is

2010

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About quarryhillcreativecenterVT

I am the daughter of the founders of Quarry Hill Creative Center in Rochester, VT. I've been a writer all my life, and also love to draw in pastel, like my mother. My father taught me to write and many other things (rather as Prospero taught Miranda). I learned many things from my mother too-- not just how to draw, but how to be caring and kind to animals and things that can not protect themeselves. "They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain." That has been her central point of view and is one of Quarry Hill's mottos. We welcome visitors, love children, and have places to rent and sell if anyone wants to come live in the beauty of the Vermont Mountains. ladybellefiske@gmail.com

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