Saturday, 21 June 2014

poem / The N-Word

  



The N-Word

If that word were a man
would that word stand tall?
Would that word be your equal?
Would that word sound grand?
If that word were a woman
would that word be your girlfriend?
Would that word be educated?
Would that word understand?
If that word were your king
would that word be fair?
Would that word have grace?
Would that word rule the land?
If that word were a child
would that word be joyful?
Would that word feel the sting
of the back of your hand?
And if that word were a dog
would that word come to heel?
Would that word eat off your floor
Would that word bite your hand?
And if that word is a river,
is it polluted by you?
And if that word is a clock,
did you stop time too?
And if that word is a cage,
do you have the keys?
And if that word is a forest
can you see the wood for the trees?
That word is the N-Word.
Do you use it with shame?
Do you use that name because
you don’t understand?
You spread ignorance and fear
like a million wet grains of sand.
Every time I hear the word Nigger
That word is a gun
loaded with negativity and history
blood n’ fire n’ truth run.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but names will always hurt thee,
If that word were a flag
I’d burn it happily,
because we still have slavery
In the 21st Century.
If that word had a soul
I would set her free
If that word had a soul 
I say set him free
If that word had a soul
I say set them free.
And if that word is the word
You’d use to describe me,
I say set me free, set me free,
Set me free.

(c) Salena Godden / 2014



'The N-Word' published in 'Fishing In The Aftermath Poetry 1994-2014'  with Burning Eye this July.  Literary childhood memoir 'Springfield Road' is published in September with Unbound