Poem | Ananya Pandey

The Beauty of Indecisions by Ernest Williamson


It’s not as revealing as it should be,
holding history in your hands–
There’s something that pages and pages
of tiny black and white print can’t tell,
perhaps can’t quite convey the essence of it, like
if I tried to explain a person to you by showing you their bones–
it’s not a novel, after all.  
There are numbers, though, to help you
paint a picture inside your head,
names, photographs of leaders, and which side
claimed more dead. But it’s not a picture that paints
the blood that truly did flow,
the realness of exploding bombs when they say
the air force was involved, 
How easy to write that a movement began
less so to begin it, to find
that dissenting feeling among thousands,
voice it, bring it out, and embark
upon a fight to death to defend it?
Sometimes the year is a clue–
I try to place people, my parents,
grandfather; that uncle that lived in the hills
when the insurgence began.
Sometimes they have stories, like
walking two hours through a silent city
to reach home after an assassination–
that was when I understood what they meant
when they say the country came to a halt that night.
I try to grasp the enormity
of the words I must remember,
infiltration, rebellion, independence 
when it was a dream to die for, and not the title of a day.
And then I think of when tomorrow’s children will ask
what happened to Palestine, and
where all those refugees ended up,
and of the time when democracy was a guarantee
And I wonder what they will have to hear.  

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