A hand rising in water holding a sparkler

A poem from Kerrie Redgate

A gift from the French.
She had sailed across an ocean to stand atop a small island in America.
A symbol of Liberty from Oppression, of Unity, Solidarity, of Friendship.
Shining the Torch of Freedom and Enlightenment,
Of Welcome.

Now the French mock her.
Once a symbol of hope for their own Liberation.
A Celebration of American Freedom.
A Friendship of deep proportions.
But now . . .

It’s as if even the Big War had never happened,
The French had not been liberated again,
The Americans had not come from across the ocean in Resistance against the Nazi menace.
Was it a dream?
How far apart, in such a small dose of Time, have these two countries been torn asunder?

Who will rescue the Americans?
Who will notice the Lady’s last spark of Hope and Pleading?
America stands alone,
As it always has.
It’s Allies pushed to the side as accoutrements.

The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.
The Lady warns from the depths.
Her voice is drowned. Liberty sinks in the mud of the harbour.
Dark Times are approaching.
Fiddle while it burns. Before the Light goes out.

It has happened before to other nations. No one believed it could happen.
Germany, Italy, Mongolia, Tibet. . .
A new generation tied to their screens,
believing in short-term realities — between the ad breaks.
It couldn’t happen here.

It happened in Singapore. The Japanese came.
Despite the British and Australians being there.
My Grandfather was there . . . before they took him to Burma.
The Japanese came.
And the Singaporeans cried.

It was said: her “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance. . .”
The sparks are almost gone now.
Lady Liberty hangs on to that last spark of Hope.
Who will hear her beneath the cold water?
Silence. Stillness. The Russians are coming. . .


Many Happy Returns, America

Kerrie Redgate
July 4 2017 (Australia)
Photo (reversed): Kristopher Roller