5-Leaf Ivy Logo

Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

home - poems - essays - autobio - retroblog
music - reading - other

 
 
 

Never to Late to Intervene

At a stream of consciousness workshop
D’vora shares a vivid dream
She’s on a spiritual retreat
The group conspires to kill
One of their own who doesn’t fit in
D’vora, feeling helpless, silently withdraws
To the safety of her upstairs room
Then hears the shot on cue
Only then she knew
Should have said something
Should have intervened

Instructor McNarley talks about
The great potato famine
How history determines what we are
Young D’vora reflects on the holocaust.
How many lived through that one
Retreating to an upstairs room
To realize in retrospect
How they might have intervened
When first they sensed insanity in their midst
How many young Germans still suffer guilt
Because of what their ancestors did
or did’nt?

And look what my ancestors did
To slaves, to native people
How could anyone have been so crude
Had I been the son of a plantation owner
Would I have condoned the whipping
Had I been the son of a pioneer
Would I have joined in the slaughter
of Indians, buffalo, passenger pigeons
Nothing in my genes would prevent it
I am what I am, only because of history

What do I see from my upstairs room
Which current atrocities will shape
The future if I fail to intervene
Ethnicism and racism still abound
But speciesism is the modern scourge
New extinctions every day
Imagine future generations
Reading these nature poems
Viewing these National Geographic Specials
Gazing out their windows and wondering
How could my people have done such a thing