The Country Where Nobody Sings by Martin Langford

The songbirds began here.

The first people sang.

The new people too —
they were still singing down to the war.

Then, bit by bit, we shut up.

Because all our songs were sung for us;
because songs were spotlights — and not invitations;
because we could not afford suffering;
because singers lived in a high-life of low-life elsewhere —

because we’d grown careful round meanings —

tongue-music dried into syntax.

For the kids, for results, for immunities:
we sifted conclusions — and tightened our throats.

Prose settled over our lives like a cloud of unbeing.

We would make ourselves still for the fine print,
and stare out at love…

Once there’d been tyrants in mills who’d admonished all singing.

We do not need them: we govern ourselves.

Now we always think before we speak.

Now that we care for our stories like courtroom exhibits.

Now we can find every reason — but reason to sing.

From: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/84567/20140521-1339/snorkel.org.au/019/langford.html

Date: 2014

By: Martin Langford (1952- )

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