Dorothy Livesay
1909 – 1996


Out of the turmoil mustered up by day
We may not free our hands, nor turn our heads to pray—
So tight the knot our sunlight ties.

So firm the hold of voices, thoughts are drowned
The river’s chant is lost, in the splintering gunshot sound:
Or from its song the essence dies.

Brightness was all, when earth lay primitive
Fair to the hands’ fresh touch, ready to burst and live:
Now in her womb corrosion lies.

Therefore we search alone the shuttered dark
Where faces of the dead shine luminous, a spark
Of lightning from encircled skies.

Therefore we seek the peace of broken ground
After the wars have buried all the young, and found
Dark remedy for shining eyes…

Therefore we hide our faces; make no sound.

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