“Centuries to Waste”
…written for and dedicated to the late Rita MacNeil, who passed from this world yesterday, 18 April 2013 from complications in surgery, a woman dedicated to the people of the mines in the Maritimes and the working peoples of Canada and the world…
Rita MacNeil [1944-2013]
Centuries to waste, generations to accrue
The necessary taste to declare the impossible,
To set a pace the great mines, the plausible
Oligarchy to manage all those ancient clues,
The infrastructure, the slews, the very glue
Of the collective where there is none, the improbable
Where there was no need, the insolvable
Where there was no quandary, no conflict for the engenue.
What lovers last? What governments pass beyond the fool
Who rules and would confound Medusa with a heart of stone.
The people mourn now in the East, candles lit in Cape Breton,
Content for now with essential services while they merely work to rule.
We abuse the blackened earth, its gases keep the cold away,
And whether up or down the people’s thumbs, it’s they that must pay.
The interims between joys grate as grains of sand; results
inflame, exacerbating, fleeting, tired, obsolete at best
When particles must come to rest at last in lungs; the test
Of what is long in coming to the miners’ families comes by default
Worthy of the great travelling but damn the destination.
Once there, of course, the afterglow.
Memories retire, Samsara, possibly what blows
Hot or cold in the heart and mind, and once again damnation
Placates, the very flower of the seraph unfolds
When the point is getting there; the object,
What it takes to leave or worse, subjects
The will to walking, possibly, soul sold
To destiny as if a napkin on the table,
The least, the promise in the glory of a fable.