My first term at Liverpool. Tuesday morning.
The professor of Philosophy’s lecture:
“All metaphysical statements are false,
or platitudinous”. My memory
of that October is of soft sun,
and clement shadows in the breezy
pollution of the river city.
Today, I have realised, that morning,
not quite four hundred miles due south east,
near the Pont Saint-Michel, under orders
from their chief, Maurice Papon, a Vichy
collaborator, police were beating
Algerians demonstrating against
torture, and for freedom. Scores were thrown
into the river Seine, and drowned. Le Rafle –
the Round-up. History as only rumour
for almost another forty years.
Though the world is all there is, and things
have no meanings beyond themselves, the busy
silence of that lecture room, before
the professor speaks, has been broken,
forever, with the cries of the beaten,
and the drowning.