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ON ACORN after Brecht I, Milton Acorn, not at first aware That was my name and what I knew was life, Come from an Island to which I've often returned Looking for peace, and usually found strife. 'til I came to see it was no pocket In a saint's pants while outside trouble reigned; And after all my favourite mode Of weather's been a hurricane. The spattered colour of the time has marked me So I'm a man of many appearances; Have come many times to poetry And come back to define what was meant. Often I've been coupled, and often alone No matter how I try I can't choose Which it shall be. I've been Ill-treated, but often marvellously well-used. What's a man if not put to good use? Nothing's happened I want to forget. What's a day without a notable Event between sunrise and sunset? My present lover finds me gentle So gentle I'll be in my boisterous way. Another one was heard to call me noble. That didn't stop her from going away. To be born on an island's to be sure You are native with a habitat. Growing up on one's good training For living in a country, on a planet. Shall I tell you the soil's red As a flag? Sand a pink flesh gleam You could use to tone a precious stone? All its colours are the colours of dreams. Perhaps only the colours I dream For I grew under that prismatic sky Like a banner of many colours Alternately splashed and washed clean. The Island's small . . . Every opinion counts. I'm accustomed to fighting for them. Lord I thank Thee for the enemies Who even in childhood tempered me. I beg pardon, God, for the insult Saying You lived and were responsible . . . a torturous all-odds-counting manner Of thinking marks me an Islander. Evil's been primary, good secondary In the days I've been boy, youth and man. I don't look to any rule of pure virtue But certainly not continuance of this damned. . . Damned! Damned did I say? This glorious age When the ancient rule of classes is hit And hit again. History's greatest change Is happening. . . And I'm part of it.