Martin Langford - DREAM: THE WELL—TIMOR, OCTOBER 1999

Indonesian militias massacred East Timorese seeking their independence in 1999, by hacking them up with machetes, and throwing the body-parts into a well. I dreamt I was in the well with them, and that even though they were dead, they were still trying to rise to the surface.


There is hope, but not for us – Kafka

The water seeps far underneath them.
It is clear. It is cleansing the earth. But here,
in the litter of torment, moonlight thins out
over burnt rock, and meat-hooks,
bare torsos stacked in a well. I picture them
turning and lost, in a grief beyond death –
as if they could hold their companions;
rise towards whatever shines
on their trenched, marble skin. As if
they could climb past the absolute lip
of their dying; trace hands like tears,
down the faces of those whom they loved.
But they can’t. They have no hands or eyes.
No-one will lift them out now
from the well of blood’s genes – walk with them,
say, by the side of the brook in the Pastoral –
down guarded slopes of invention;
answer their kiss in a mottling of shadows
where freedom’s a mood of the strong.
They have such a short distance to travel.
But all they can make out’s
the trickling of hope-not-for-them.