Hintsa’s ghost: a murder poem in three parts

realisation

 

let us start at the beginning

let us correct what we all know

 

let us admit the myth

 

let us concede:

 

good people seldom change the world

 

with a few notable exceptions

it is the narrow

it is the shallow

it is the cold hearted

who rape

who steal

who push countries across boundaries

products into arms

brandy into mouths

with a bible

 

let us start at the beginning…

 

maybe it will help

 

con

 

having shot the man

hands high in the river

the escape failed

they pulled at his teeth

they tried to cut off his ear

they were digging for the souvenir

they were digging for the totem

 

of course the best was not from the body

 

today the family run a farm and lodge

and

on the bed a pamphlet

of family ancestry but

on the bed nothing

nothing at all

about hintsa

 

or his ghost

 

memory

 

the story is left behind

the autobiographies are written

the mythology is nearly set

the brushing

is

very nearly

complete

 

the con is forgotten

or

the con is ignored:

 

the murder of a king.

 

sir harry smith

 

sir benjamin durban

 

the men who swept clean

the men who could see

the day the cattle would die.

 

after all of this

after hundreds

and hundreds

of years

they are,

almost,

all we have left

 

what a terrible

and strange

thing

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