4 and 20 – Were You Alone?
4 and 20 – WERE YOU ALONE?
4 and 20 – were you alone?
did you moan?
when they beat you with sticks
did it make you feel sick?
Did their dirty white faces
greedy and cold
did they hurt you a lot
when they broke your bones?
I hate the white man
almost as much as you did
when he murdered your child
when the bluecoats went wild
Massacred your brides
hate is hateful
why do people hate?
why do people behave like savages?
Genocide, Holocaust, Nuclear explosion
murder in your beds
napalm, cannon fire, beat the drum
gattling gun, bayonets fixed, run them in
Inhumanity is a devil word
and you were just one black bird
one beauty in the forest
with yellow beak and gentle ways
I made a friend of a blackbird once
she fed around my chair
she collected food for a clutch of three
a clutch of five, a clutch of five
Again she raised a clutch of three
then finally a clutch of seven!
that bird should now be in heaven
I loved that bird to watch her work
I loved the little native girl
the child brides of the indigenous American
the boys and girls in striped pyjamas
the families of the Vietnamese and Japanese
4 and 20, thousand, million, humbled
slaughtered, their daughters and their sons
murder most foul, we put them in the earth
left the dead to bury the dead
The scorched, bloody earth
where blackbirds fed
and carried food back to their nest
the warm nest and the loving home