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Cries of Ghosts across Centuries

Babylon has fallen, has fallen

Yea, Babylon has fallen

Woe!  Woe!  Woe!

Towers that soared into clear blue

are at blocks of stone settled into earth

all gone, all shattered

ground into scattered dust

Babylon has fallen, has fallen

Yea, Babylon has fallen

Woe!  Woe!  Woe!

Now hordes of warring barbarians

literate, skilled in killing sciences

have come, have come, are here

are building an empire of corpses

humanity’s spirit roams over desert sands

a wailing of lost bereaved ghosts

Woe!  Woe!  Woe!  Woe!


Dennis Brutus is a South African poet.  Active against Apartheid, he was arrested in 1963 and imprisoned for 18 months on Robben Island.  After his release, he became a political refugee in the United States.  Today he is based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, engaged in poetry and activism against all forms of oppression and exploitation.  The Centre for Civil Society circulates a Dennis Brutus poem every day.  If you want to get a Brutus poem a day, subscribe to the Debate list at lists.kabissa.org/mailman/listinfo/debate.   This poem appeared in Leafdrift (Whirlwind Press, 2005).


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