Unwelcome Guest

by Sylvia Evelyn
Babilu
Honorable Mention, June 2017
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


Battling the jaws of a river,
networks of apple groves
spread out with geometric precision,
wrought by gaunt men who came in droves
from a faraway continent
ravaged by war and incessant ills.
Pioneers armed with zealous intent,
unflinching, hungry too,
set up fortress camps
under the brows of Mapuche braves.

Who shall remember in our age,
or any other,
flickering oil lamps burning low,
guanaco hide dwellings of native nomads,
women cuddling black-eyed babes
under the vigil of Austral owls?

Only Earth drummed out the carnage
as if a tumor were knifing her bowels
in night-fires’ bloodied shadows.

Only this land’s pellucid dawns swathed with light
the newborn infant in some hollow,
beside its mother’s lifeless form.

Crushed by Remingtons, pencilled routes
and railroads slicing immensity,
Mapuche watched as orchards flourished
like checkerboards slashed out with swords;
as concrete dams and canals nourished
foreign fruit trees and poplars,
which secretly conspired to harbor
spirits and demons of the steppe’s infinity.

Child of nordic nations-
You’re a stranger to spears and arrows
of bronze painted bodies
your forebears banished
from plains Mapuche strode with mighty steps;
present, yes,
ancient before the unwelcome guest.

You never saw virginal valleys
exploding into strife,
nor watched guanacos and ñandues vanish,
as winka carved out furrows
on a quest for love and life.

How could I once believe
there were no legends other than mine,
or that no lips could sing of riches
nurtured by spirits of sky and rock,
as here I stood on a land
whose wounds bled from lances
driven into undefiled Earth,
which my own God would never heal?



  • May 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      I think of the colour purple
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Swimming in Twilight
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      In another country with strangers
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

  • April 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Furiously Overcome by Stars
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Ides of March
      by Rachel Green
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Natural History
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters