Humanity is a word to be earned─

I sing my song as a bitter wind blows,
a chant from my heart to be carried far,
I sing my song as falling darkness grows;
as I sing  my sadness and sorrow grows.
How can I tell the world that love is lost?
How can this world stop darkness as it grows?
My song is heard where the bitter wind blows
from East to West, from North to South and East;
the Earth has closed its eyes upon the least
and everywhere a wind of darkness grows;
I cannot find the cause or place the blame
for human cruelty, the greatest shame.

My song tears my heart as I seek a name.
Must I accuse the wind that only blows
and yet its bitterness turns red with shame,
fingers of ice and cold would draw a name.
Each corner of the Earth contains a scar;
a wound that has not healed that has no name.
The bitter wind speaks out and carries shame,
battles and buried bones have had no cost,
the world is mindless in the face of loss.
Fingers of ice and cold would draw a name,
something that had been human has increased,
from nameless dark it comes and is released.

I tear my breast for sorrow has increased.
In this indifferent world there is no shame,
the bitter wind returns without surcease
for those it finds there is no hope of peace.
Hate is a leech that fattens as it grows,
blood is its power, death is its release,
and mindlessly it holds victims in its teeth.
Those who love death are carrying a scar,
a scab that bleeds, that pulls to hurt and mar.
I cry for those who hate, whose souls have ceased,
they feel impelled to kill what they have lost,
O empty hearts, you hurt what you have lost.

I smell the spring that lies beneath the frost,
blind Nature with her seeds to be released,
they push the sleeping earth, no movement lost
for hope is sealed to weather ice and frost.
And silently seeds move to catch the rain,
with wind and water breath and tears are crossed.
I sing to Earth for all her children lost
and cry for those who kill where heaven goes.
They’ve made a god to service hate’s gallows,
these husks of bitter wheat that have been tossed
are those who walk the Earth and bear a scar,
from unforgiving wounds of ancient war.

I sing my song of sorrow wide and far
for those who suffered and who know the cost
from those who carry terror in a war
that sneaks like plague to enter any door,
to make of children sacrificial beasts
tied to bombs that burst  to kill, maim and mar;
promised heaven, extinguished like a star.
Blind vengeance knows not love and has no shame,
beyond human in no man’s land of blame,
beyond reason except the lure of war.
I sing to halt the bitter wind that blows,
that hate will melt away like winter snows.

I sing my song as falling darkness grows
from unforgiving wounds of ancient war;
battles and buried bones have had no cost.
The bitter wind returns without surcease,
for human cruelty, the greatest shame.


Florence Major is an artist/poet born in Montreal, Quebec, and living in New York City.  Her poems have appeared in the following publications: Chaffey Review, Cerise Press, Qarrtsiluni, Willows Wept Review, Moonshot Magazine, Anatomy & Etymology, Mythic Delirium, Illumen, Strange Horizons, The Germ and Spark, A Creative Anthology.

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2 Responses

  1. Lorna Davis

    I find this poem profoundly powerful, but at a level I find hard to put into words… I’ve read through it a few times and find more each time, but more than anything it resonates as the sorrowful singing of my own heart to much that is happening in the world. So many strong images, but as much visceral as visual. I hope that made sense. It evokes that sense of the poet as the voice that cries in the wilderness. And yes, human cruelty is the greatest shame.

    • Florence

      Lorna Davis,
      Thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt response. That you were attuned to the cadence of the poem makes me feel that I did justice to the singer who inspired the internal rhythms I felt while writing it. The Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum sang ‘love songs,’ but in a way that gave her audiences a spiritual experience, her silences and phrasing made her a legend in her time. YouTube has her bio narrated by Omar Sharif. Your comments were of the highest order of encouragement to me. I think our feelings need images and metaphors to make words come to life and make connections resonate.



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