Grace Nichols – Spell Against Too Much Male White Power

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There is too much male white power at loose in the world
There is too much male white power at loose in the world

The smell of Pretoria
The breath of the Pentagon
The eye of the Kremlin

How can I trap it
How can I embalm it
How can I roll it up
like a burial shroud
and put it away
Or at least

How can I persuade it
How can I dissuade it
How can I dissipate it
and spread it thin thin
across my loaf
which of course
would have to be eaten

There is too much male whita power at loose in the world
There is too much male white power at loose in the world

How can I cull it
How can I curb it
How can I muzzle the hound
Or at least

How can I bemuse it
How can I confuse it
and like the tower of Babel
bring it all down

O I am a cutter of cataracts
A salter of tongues

There is too much male white power at loose in the world
There is too much male white power at loose in the world

How can I rebound
the missiles and rockets
How can I confound
multinational octopuses
Or at least

How can I remove the ‘Big Chiefs’
from the helm
How can I put them to sit on beaches
quiet, sea-gazing, retired old men.


From Graces Nichols’ selected poems I have crossed an Ocean (Bloodaxe Books, 2010), previously published in Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman and Other Poems (1989).


Publish by courtesy of Bloodaxe Books: https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/

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Grace Nichols
Grace Nichols was born in Guyana but has lived in Britain since 1977. Her first book of poems ‘I is a long-memoried Woman’ won the 1983 Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Other collections include, ‘The Fat Black Woman’s Poems’, ‘Sunris’ which won the Guyana Poetry Prize, ‘The Insomnia Poems' and ‘Picasso I Want My Face Back’ which resulted from her residency at the Tate Gallery London. She received a Cholmondeley Award for her work in 2001 and is among the poets studied on the GCSE syllabus. She has also written several collections for younger readers. Her latest adult collection, the ninth published and her fourth with Bloodaxe Books is ‘Passport to Here and There’. She is a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.