Posts Tagged ‘Columbus Day’

Discovery

04/01/2013

A poem, for your consideration. This poem comes out of the fact that I’m currently reading “A People’s History of the United States from 1492 – Present” by Howard Zinn, which is an absolutely excellent book (thus far). Zinn looks at American history from the perspective of the person, not the traditional writers of history, which gives a very unique, provocative perspective on the history being examined. It is history unlike any you’ve ever encountered … and, it is truly compelling. The opening chapter is about the “discovery” of the “New World” by Columbus, which served as the inspiration for this poem. I hope you enjoy it (the opening was also partly inspired by Portia’s speech from “The Merchant of Venice” – heavily paraphrased).

Discovery

The quality of mercy is strained
dripping with gentleness
lacking mercy
they claim it has descended from heaven and
it has fallen
unto hallowed ground
made fertile from the blood
of the warriors
lying dead
alongside their children and
the women who died protecting them and
the old men
torn asunder by
weapons of war
levelled against a population
living without knowledge
of colonialism or the greed it arouses
armed only with spears of cane
incapable of piercing
armour worn by visitors
from distant lands
the peaceful Arawak
witnessed the coming of their
worst nightmares
turning the natives of the Bahamas,
Hispaniola, and the rest of the
New World into little more than slaves
forced to satisfy
Columbus’ thirst for gold.

(more…)

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