All That Is Necessary For Evil

Hanae tends her garden’s earth,
and Kiran tends their flame.
Keala tends the ocean wide,
and Niamh tends the Name.
Mbali tends the flowing air
that we breathe all the same.
Nizhoni’s she who leads them,
but says these Six can’t claim
to be the world’s saviors—
“For shame,” she says, “for shame.

“Keala can’t be everywhere
to keep the rivers clean,
Hanae can’t be everywhere
to keep the branches green.
Kiran can’t be everywhere
and must be careful still,
for burning might well purify
but leaves Mbali ill.
And Niamh shall not coerce,
and nor will I compel,
a one of you to save
this planet where we dwell.

“Perhaps it isn’t your concern.
Perhaps it’s only fair
that things be fixed by those who broke
such things—of that, beware.
Simply to do nothing at all
is all evil needs from you.
I wonder why I must say this,
for this, I thought, you knew.”

Nizhoni is a legend
who’ll be in none’s employ.
Her hand devised the scheme brought down
those who’d the world destroy.
She speaks—the world should listen, but
they think she’s just a toy.
Someone else must have directed
the power these Six wield.
Someone stronger and more ruthless;
who’ll not make fair the field;
who cares nothing for the helpless,
those whom Nizhoni healed.
She claims she doesn’t understand
those who this thought believe.
They started out six outcasts.
What can such folk achieve?

But it’s just that simple, really.
One helping hand reached out
can heal a bit of heartbreak,
can chase away some doubt.
One candle in the darkness
makes it possible to see.
Some dirt, sunlight, and water, and
one seed can grow a tree.
That tree can make it easier
for everyone to breathe.
Mbali stands as evidence
black women can be free—
oppression overcome beside
the river Combahee.

“The glory of all this is” (Nizhoni says)
“we don’t have to agree
on how to make the world a kinder
place for you and me.
But each of us must do what’s right,
as far as we can tell.
Don’t do harm you can avoid.
When told you’re doing harm,
stop and listen to them.
And, perhaps, disarm.
Too simple a philosophy?
Go home, good folks. Be well.”

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All That Is Necessary For Evil by Alex Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Alex Conall

Author: Alex Conall

There's the poet and the artist and the third-wave feminist, And the queer white Hellenist—I've got them on the list! And that singular anomaly, the GQ novelist— I don't think they'd be missed—I'm sure they'd not be missed!