Excerpt from Rebel Song

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by Rivera Sun

[Editor’s note: Rebel Song is a chapbook-length poem of defiance against the earth- and human-destroying dominant paradigm and its structures and systems. Rivera’s work inspires with its gratitude for us social justice “rebels”; its passion for justice, sorrow for loss of species and humanity, poignant descriptions of numbness and fear; and liberation from them. Her going forth is metaphorical, symbolic, and of the scale of the Great Turning itself. The following excerpt describes an internal turning from numbness to seeing with new eyes. I highly recommend reading the whole poem.]


“Listen. Listen,”
my flute-body moans,
“hear the storm that is coming.
It will sweep across the Big House
tossing partiers up like leaves.
You are dust upon these winds.
Today, the soldiers pass your doorstep,
but tomorrow,
look around!
When we are gone
our tracks remain,
a line drawn closer
to your family.
Look around!
Your child is next in line
to be the one that cries from hunger…”
My words whistle in an empty wind,
falling on deaf ears.

I feel internal fire
start to rise,
my rage and fury,
as we pass by
houses full of stuffed-pork sausages,
people squinty-eyed as pigs,
drawing shutters closed
over human suffering,
refusing to speak out.

This country reeks of piss and fear,
a whole nation of red-eyed rabbits.
I long to lunge at them!
To chase them!
To worry them!
To snap them to their idle feet!

What’s this I feel
inside my chest?
Not despair
Not numbness…

[part three]
Heart’s Return

Heart? Heart?
Is that you?
My dog-gone heart?
You’re back!

“Shhh,” the heart says.
“Keep marching, forward, move.
Your anger was the flame
that lit my way to you.
Now put it out.
It’s hot.
You don’t need that rage
when you’ve got heart.”

“I have been,” the heart says,
“to the middle of the storm.
I have been to the change
that is coming.

I have been to the eye of the storm
that is coming
and these are the forces
that thrust it forward…
When the rich men horde the money,
the storm is coming.
When the land is raped for profit,
the storm is coming.
When programs for the public good
are plundered,
the storm is coming.
When wars break loose
from lying tongues,
the storm is coming.
When poverty starts rising,
the storm is coming.

When corporations rule instead of humans,
the storm is coming.

When the earth is thrown off cycle,
the seasons twisted out of turn,
the sky heated,
the ice melted,
the forests razed,
the seas warmed,
the storm is coming,
the storm!

and this is what it says:
“I am the storm, the reckoner.
I am justice truly blind.
I am Compassion’s eye awakened.
I am the balancer of the world…
I am change and nothing else,
a child of your choices,
set in motion by your actions…
If you hear within my howl,
the cries of children,
the screams of women,
the curses of angry men,
it is because they have been
too long ignored,
and through me
they will be heard.”


Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written many novels, including The Dandelion Insurrection, and several books of poetry. She is the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio, and a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent movements. www.riverasun.com

3 thoughts on “Excerpt from Rebel Song

  1. So happy to have recently discovered her writings! This makes me think of Wendell Berry’s quote: “Whether we or our politicians know it or not, nature is party to all our deals and decisions. And she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice.”

  2. This is so honest, pure and raw. Thank you for sharing what the heart whispers in the deepest part of all of us. Your voice gave my heart a voice too. Grateful.

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