Two Sides of Silence

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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson (aka LKJ) (born in Jamaica, 24 August 1952) is a UK-based dub poet. In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. His performance poetry involves the recitation of his own verse in Jamaican Patois over dub-reggae, usually written in collaboration with renowned British reggae producer/artist Dennis Bovell. His middle name, "Kwesi", is Ghanaian. more »


Year:
1980
124 Views

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To us
Who were
Of necessary birth
For the earths hard
And thankless toil
Silence has no meaning

There is never a feeling
Of tranquility
Or mere quietness
Never a moment
Of soundless calm
From within or without
Our troubled selves

How can the clamor
Of sounds be stilled?
There is no void where
Noises can collect
And be made mute

How indeed
Can there be silence

When our hearts beat out
A sonorous beat
Meeting the beating drums
Of an African past
When our eyes shed
Solid tears of iron blood
That falls on concrete ground

Inside our ears
Are the many wailing cries
Of misery
Inside our bodies
The internal bleeding
Of volcanoes
Inside our heads
The wrapped in thoughts
Of rebellion

How can there be calm
When the storm is yet to come?

This unending silence
Taut, impervious, unbending
Not lending an ear
To the most delicate of sounds
Awaits the blast of bombs
Which man will explode
To break this silent bond
To (?)
To the use to create
Hills of soft obedience
Where sweet-clothed sounds
Can rebound
And their echoes glide
Like a carefree bird
In rhythmic calm
To a mellow
Pure, silent space

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Written by: LINTON KWESI JOHNSON

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Two Sides of Silence

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