Roz Kaveney

THE ARC OF JUSTICE
For Chelsea Manning

They saw the curvature, degree of arc,
Little they saw enough to give them hope
in time of burn, brand, knife and choking rope.
We’ve seen the light they sensed, but now the dark
Is back around us. Time to take our stance.
It’s partly in the footwork. Shoulder strain
One wrist is braced. The other pulls again
As they did in their time. This is our chance
To share their honour. Conscience keeps us flexed.
Our fingers callus crack and still we draw
a tiny movement when we wanted more.
Their thoughts and dreams are now become our text,
The feather fletching harsh against our ear
Some of us join the struggle, disappear

Fallen or weakened dead before our time
cut down or starved. Friends could not spare a dime
played off against each other. Still we pull
the arc has shifted further in its bend.
Pull on with bloody fingers to some end
we may not see. One day the curve is full
the bow is taut and now we take our aim.
Our fight is truth and now the shaft flies true.
Let tyrant fear, and yes, we mean all you
who tyrannise. It’s function not a name
or system. We will pierce it to the heart
Injustice. Pull through rain and then through drought
Sometimes with some small joy, sometimes without.
This is our purpose. So we make a start.