Sunday, June 27, 2010


Redemption by Frank Kobina Parkes from Songs from the Wilderness, 1965

"My world pines in your marble breasts, daughter of woe
Green buds crack in the dry harmattan wind
Sun beats down on the city of a million dead
Men wove hats with their hands for a shelter
And monkeys, from tree-tops bare, mock
With crown-capped glee
Bare-headed among the despoiled flowers I stand
Empty-handed, in built-up deserts
I groan mankind's loss
And search wide heavens for a sign not written there

I am a stranger....

My mother's house is desolate and bare
I, stranger upon earth, walk alone the misty pavements
Where bright sun shines and brings no warmth
As snowflakes parachute to rescue earth

Yet you are shivering, daughter of the land

I feel, can touch and yearn to chant old psalms
Recorded on soundtracks through Adam's mind
But I am no more human
Purged of mankind-knowing griefs
Snobbery passes me by
And I have lost my voice
In the whining of the arctic winds bleak and sharp
Despair withdraws from my cold paw in friendship shot
Alone I prowl, being without soul
Lone as a star that twinkles in a firmament of crushed-out eyes
Depths are frozen wombs
Barren skulls and cross-bones picked
And earth belongs to other races - pressed in steel

I am lost...and you...
And what shall we make
Of all these shining orbs and incandescent tombs?

The sun is dark, is cold the sun
I am a potter's vessel shaped by knowing hands
Fallen from sky of earth-dreams that never flower
The eye of the Lord is on me
(And his wrath too)
How long,
How long shall I riddle rock breasts for warmth
How long shall I, a worn Silesian exile, turn
Sore feet for refuge to shrines of past oppression?

Suffer me
Oh suffer me not to be separated
Firm breasts that milked my toothless gum

In the desert place
Let my cry come unto Thee!

I shall return
I shall return to sun-warmed lands
Where rivers flow all through the year
I shall return with the glory of sun-down
Only to battered citadels will I return
To bashed-in skulls and sun-picked bones
Wild groans of shattered hearthstones pierce my ears
Knock, O knock down the battlements of pride

Caress stone breasts with benumbed hands
That fire may rise
And coldness burn
And warmth return
And in red glow, behold:
That sign sure writ in blood

Shall these bones live?
Shall these bones live?

The streams of Life gush out in tuneful song
Dead bones in rocky caves astir
Dead bones in mansions moving,
As the glory of God descends on earth

To be despoiled."

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