Paul Spella

Edinburgh, 1826

  

For all the faith in argument in principle in reason

for all the books you hand me bid me read

for all in the dark I pretend

for all the pursuit of equality of righteousness and good

for all the rights of man the vindication of woman

for all in the dark I pretend we are

for all the moral cause abolition the struggle for freedom

for all in the dark I pretend we are just

for all the history of heroes and foes the victors and the vanquished

for all the talk and talk and talk

for all in the dark I pretend we are just one soul

what would it mean at last to see

not Love not Truth not Beauty but who

has been in your house who sleeping in your bed?
  

  

  


This poem is from Shara McCallum’s forthcoming book No Ruined Stone, an imagined account of the Scottish poet Robert Burns’s planned migration to Jamaica for a job that involved supervising enslaved Africans on a plantation.

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