We need you to listen – poem

We need you to listen
Malvern – Parliament Square – Wembley Police Station, September 2020

Poem by Isabel Jones

For the people sitting in silence
With their love and their faith and their grief
We need you to listen

For the ones who are dancing and singing
Drumming their passion and rage on the streets
We need you to listen

For the hills and the meadows behind me
Threatened islands of life in my heart
For the trees and the woodlands you’ve bulldozed
For the destruction of life in your path
We need you to listen

For the wild things running and dying
As the buzz of their life force fades
For the lands degraded and burning
And the debt that will never be paid
We need you to listen

For the grandiose facades of your vanity
Speaking only to each other’s power
For the cruel web of lies that entangle us
From your faceless and heartless glass towers
For the elders, the youth and the children
Who are shouting that they want to live
For the deaf ear, the blind eyes, the beaten
Who feel they have nothing to give
We need you to listen

For the dirt on the street that I lie on
With the bones of our one earth beneath
For the blue sky above the pollution
And the hope of a life that can breathe
For the police who are carrying my pain away
It’s too much to carry alone
For the black skin of the officer bearing me
And the centuries of harm I have done
We need you to listen

For the statues of freedom and slavery
Voices silenced in marble and bronze
For the love and the strength of my people
Which cushions the slam of the doors
For the hollow grand houses we pass
As they hide in their luxury and fear
For the grey streets of ordinary millions
Where life is just something to bear
For the white tower, green heart of Grenfell
Where the souls of the dead cry our shame
For the refugees denied our asylum
For the voiceless who shoulder our blame
We need you to listen

For the vast and glorious planet
That vibrates outside of my cell
For the words I don’t have and the stories
That I am unable to tell
For the people who sit with my silence
With my hope and my love and my grief
We need you to listen