"Letter from Marcus Garvey"

Letter from Marcus Garvey
London, 9 June 1940

When I was in the Atlanta Federal Prison
I chanted through the silence, "Keep cool,
keep cool," For I didn't want to see twisted
bodies ripening on the flowering dogwood.

Or when I emerged from the caverns
of the Spanish Town District Prison,
the children hurled stones at my head,
like I was some lame poet,
and even after my first betrayal
when Amy brawled with a Judas,
you ignored me and said I made us
"a laughingstock to the world."

I took it because I knew you were blind
to your own beauty, that you could be seduced
by weak-kneed hypocrites who would call me
"a half-wit, low-grade moron." I took it all.

But what has me choking
on my words,is not the asthma, 
the shortness of breath
that has slowed my heart, 
my body that will be taken away soon-soon
by the whirlwind--what's left me mute
is the broken faith of my brothers
and sisters, scattered like goats on a far
hillside where my father lies buried
under the broad leaves of the breadfruit; 
his bones warmer than these white, 
cold pages swirling in my doorway

"Letter from Marcus Garvey" by Geoffrey Philp

"Letter from Marcus Garvey" was first published in Dance the Guns to Silence (2005), an anthology of poems that celebrated the life of the Nigerian activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa ((1941-1995): "the writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society's weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved shaping its present and its future."

The title, Dance the Guns to Silence is taken from one of Saro-Wiwa’s own poems, ‘Dance’. The anthology has a Foreword written by Ken Wiwa and editorial advisory from the renowned Malawian poet, now living in exile in Britain, Jack Mapanje.

Dance the Guns to Silence is an anthology of strong, thoughtful, poems of tribute, ranging from words of social consciousness to hard hitting images and moving stories.

Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems Inspired by Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Edited by: Nii Ayikwei Parkes and; Kadija George.

For more information, visit this site: http://www.remembersarowiwa.com/poetry.htm

"Letter from Marcus Garvey" was also published in my most recent collection of poems, Dub Wise.

Visit my author page @ Amazon: Geoffrey Philp



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