Songs of the Archipelagos

 For Small Island, Big Song

They come from places you could easily forget,
somewhere between the Pacific and Indian
Oceans: islands where statues gaze at the horizon,
like when the ancestors in deep time first
launched their canoes, not knowing if or when
they’d return to the caress of their loved ones,
risked the currents and disappeared into the mist.
Yet they sing, despite the threats of cyclones,
love songs to their children, barely out of diapers
but old enough to recognize what the stutter
in their mother’s voice means–maybe the waters
creeping up the stilts of their home, year after year,
is a sign that the ways of the elders will be lost
when heads of yam, stems of taro are drowned in salt.

About the Poem

I admire the commitment and creativity of Small Island Big Song in raising awareness about the climate crisis that is already affecting archipelagos around the world.

About the Author

Geoffrey Philp is the author of five books of poetry, two collections of short stories, three children’s books, and two novels. His next collection of poems, Archipelagos (Peepal Tree Press), uses Amitav Ghosh’s paradigm to explore the connection between colonialism, vulture capitalism, and fundamentalist Christianity in the Anthropocene era.

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