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A pocketful of seeds- A settler's poem

    I came to the desert with a pocket full of seeds
    To live in the house of my father's best dreams
    Promised to me before I was born
    Taken away because of my sins

    I came with a map painted on ancient hide
    To find the city of gold stripped of its wealth
    Its life giving springs poisoned or dry
    My father's house burned to the ground

    The first night I awoke with a knife at my throat
    My grandfather's bones held for ransom
    The gravestones are scattered and used to pave roads
    By an unlettered cousin thirsty for blood

    He came in the night to kill me and steal my inheritance
    A grave stands now where my brother lies buried
    But my dog of a cousin ran licking his wounds
    And now I must mourn as I sharpen my sword

    And yet I stay
    And build
    And plant my seeds
    And live in my father's dream
    Where my cousin knew only to take from the land
    Until it had no more left to give
    Making a desert that mirrored his soul

    The desert now blooms, my father
    The wheat is now ripe
    But I may not harvest
    My cousin has come

    He lives in the house my grandfather built
    The house where my father was born
    He claims to be the owner
    Yet my father's mark is still upon the door

    My grandfather bought a house
    Paying a ransom for a gift from his god
    The house where you live
    Counting my money
    Wiping your sword
    There you worship the man
    Whose children you kill

    Tell me, dear cousin
    How many times may a house be bought?
    How many deaths can be forgotten?

    Tell me, my cousin
    How came you upon your inheritance?
    Whose blood lies spilled upon the floor?

    Now strangers have come
    Selling swords and crying for peace
    I still remember how they burned my father
    When he could not fight back

    I came with my seeds to a desert
    Fleeing the fire
    And now I am labeled the oppressor
    In a stranger's court ruled by gold
    And the thief wears a suit and tie
                A smell of oil follows him wherever he goes

    You don't like my poem?
    Tell me, judge
    What rhymes with tie?


    You don't like this.

    Are my words too simple?
    Have I made history into a nursery rhyme?
    Is truth too complex to be understood
    By a man of simple belief in good and evil
    And justice based on proof
    And truth
    Or did you expect me to dig my own grave and lie down to die
    Yet again

    Pardon me for being uncultured
    And recalling past sins

    The truth isn't simple
        They tell me
    Justice must be served
        They say the time has come
    Now is the time for their kind of justice
    And I must stand silent in the place of the guilty
                  Accused of murder
                But if they speak the truth
                                Why am I the one burying my dead?                              
    My dead brother lies forgotten
    My murdered father lies in an unmarked grave
    The dead cannot ask for this new wave of justice
    And the killer claims an inheritance in this new style of court

    The land lay empty and neglected
        Yet you stake your claim from the beginning of time
        So tell me, my cousin
        Where are your trees?

    I came
    I built
    I made the desert bloom from the wells you poisoned
       So tell me, my cousin
       Why don't you go to feast in you brother's courtyard?
    Is that fear I see in your eyes?

    I cry for justice
        As I bury my dead
    You cry for peace
        As you wipe my blood from your blade
    And your words are accepted
    In the courts ruled by gold

    After all
    Peace sounds so much nicer than justice
    So your words must be true