As Fadistas do campo de vida

(For the punished performers in Portugal, No. 8 in the cycle Fados do Corona)

All the ears are empty
All the seats are cold
All our tongues are tired
Doing just what we are told.

Trees still have their leaves
Like grass in spring, their green
Masks conceal our lips and thoughts
Great evil remains unseen.

The food they make is poisoned
The air we breathe they spoiled
Against reason they would tame us
Our livelihoods they’ve foiled.

We let them take our bodies mortal
For safety offered by a thief
Genes torn to cover what they steal
From that theft can offer no relief.

The wind, the sea, the sun, the earth
All no evil know
Liberty by our parents won,
After the locust swarm, for our children we must sow.

See No. 7 here

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..