Monday, July 09, 2007


A poem by Marjory Wentworth

One of the amazing things about organizing Split This Rock Poetry Festival is that I hear from poets all over the world who are writing powerful poems of conscience and doing important work in their own communities to bring about a more peaceful and just world.

Over the weekend, Marjory Wentworth, the poet laureate of South Carolina, contacted me. I wasn't familiar with her work previously, and had the pleasure and honor of reading a couple of poems she sent me. Here's "Nocturne 2006," which originally appeared in Nimrod's Crossing Borders, Spring/Summer 2007 issue.

Nocturne 2006

Owls call from the hollows.
This is the sound of the moon.

Light shattering like glass
across the night. Sky

filled with ghosts. They have
traveled far. This room holds

their voices like a box
of cracked bones. I remember

how to write my name
in a swirl of Arabic.

It is a secret. Sound,
like the sound of my name

in the halls where I walked
through moonlight, stepping

over soldiers facing Mecca.
The faces of the tortured are

familiar. Beneath hoods, a voice
I recognize. A muscled thigh, feet

in shackles, buttocks and kneecaps.
Skin smelling of sweat and urine.

A man is named for a prophet.
He calls for him in the darkness.

Naked and cold in a cage,
his middle name is God.

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