August 28, 2009

I, MILTON ACORN, a poem by Milton Acorn


after Brecht

I, Milton Acorn, not at first aware
That was my name and what I knew was life,
Come from an Island to which I've often returned
Looking for peace, and usually found strife.

'til I came to see it was no pocket
In a saint's pants while outside trouble reigned;
And after all my favourite mode
Of weather's been a hurricane.

The spattered colour of the time has marked me
So I'm a man of many appearances;
Have come many times to poetry
And come back to define what was meant.

Often I've been coupled, and often alone
No matter how I try I can't choose
Which it shall be. I've been
Ill-treated, but often marvellously well-used.

What's a man if not put to good use?
Nothing's happened I want to forget.
What's a day without a notable
Event between sunrise and sunset?

My present lover finds me gentle
So gentle I'll be in my boisterous way.
Another one was heard to call me noble.
That didn't stop her from going away.

To be born on an island's to be sure
You are native with a habitat.
Growing up on one's good training
For living in a country, on a planet.

Shall I tell you the soil's red
As a flag? Sand a pink flesh gleam
You could use to tone a precious stone?
All its colours are the colours of dreams.

Perhaps only the colours I dream
For I grew under that prismatic sky
Like a banner of many colours
Alternately splashed and washed clean.

The Island's small . . . Every opinion counts.
I'm accustomed to fighting for them.
Lord I thank Thee for the enemies
Who even in childhood tempered me.

I beg pardon, God, for the insult
Saying You lived and were responsible
. . . a torturous all-odds-counting manner
Of thinking marks me an Islander.

Evil's been primary, good secondary
In the days I've been boy, youth and man.
I don't look to any rule of pure virtue
But certainly not continuance of this damned. . .

Damned! Damned did I say? This glorious age
When the ancient rule of classes is hit
And hit again. History's greatest change
Is happening. . . And I'm part of it.

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