Hymn Of The Excluded

Saint-Jean-Baptiste, 2018.

We see you — up there on the tribune — happy, merry and few;

you know all the words to your song.

You’ve achieved a great victory:

you’ve made us feel unclean in our own state.

Please excuse the familiarity we dared hope for,

as a meager, yet inadmissible, side effect of our toil.

You’ve passed a new law:

henceforth, our language and customs are banned.

We must not speak anymore, of our struggles.

How could we? Your language has no words, for ours.

You haven’t always been like this: once, a long time ago,

you begrudgingly accepted our offerings, on your altar.

But no more.

Rules are rules, you say:

the nation, from its impurities, must be preserved,

Will you make us leave? Soon enough, you say.

Can we take our children? If you must; we didn’t know you had any.

Can we sell our property? Only at a loss.

What good is it to you, if we stay, or if we go?

Are we hurting your pride?

Must our voices be shuttered, just so you can win?

Don’t you see, that in your zeal to extinguish,

to enforce: these ashes, they’re only you?