‘We’ is the meanest word, its mood

“We” is the meanest word, its mood

Distorts and lies, and weasels to exclude.

Weaving and wheeling over time and seas

We craft our world of false communities.

“We trace our antecedents to the apes.”

Yet so do apes. The total truth escapes.

“Three thousand years ago we tilled this land!

Returning home, for us, is what God planned.”

“We came here with the Conqueror, my dear!”

“Indeed? And how d’you like it, living here?”

What certainties our memories have sealed

Inside the Alamo, the Boyne, Kossovo Field?

The politician, with a wary cuss:

“God damn his theories! Is he one of us?”

(Contrast the matron’s patronising bray:

“We didn’t take our medicine today!”

We are all naked born, on one small star;

Our parents blithely teach us who we are.

We Brits, we blacks, we liberals, we Bahai:

We family, true, but we is you and I.”

(November, 2008)