The Return of Pegasus

A poem on how the Greek mythological horse has made its appearance in a world that is least prepared for it.

Listen to this article:

Name a spyware after a Greek myth,

And ensure the divinity of surveillance. 

Name a white horse for misdeeds,

And seal the metaphor of conquest.  

The hoof that sprouted springs will

Now sprout nightmares in your head.

The Pegasus has returned without 

Wings and hope. It has returned 

Like a rat during a pandemic. It eats 

Your words for food, but it cannot 

Digest them: power has a weak tummy. 

Our privacy is no longer a secret. It is 

Stored in machines that do not have the

Will to decide, the power to resist. 

You can’t trust a machine, the way you 

Trust a friend. Technology is traitor, 

And collaborator, all it needs is an enemy. 

Spy stories are as old as history. The horse

Metamorphosed into beasts on wheels,

Adding glamour and speed to conspiracies.

In a world of broken mythologies, spies

Move like shadows in their world of shadow.

They serve invisible, nameless monsters, 

Who do not belong even to themselves, and 

Invade us as occupied territories, treat 

Our words like illegal goods, steal our lives.

The Pegasus Project is a collaborative investigation that involves more than 80 journalists from 17 news organisations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories with the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab. Read all our coverage here.

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is the author of The Town Slowly Empties: On Life and Culture during Lockdown (Headpress, Copper Coin, 2021), Looking for the Nation: Towards Another Idea of India (Speaking Tiger, 2018), and Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (The London Magazine, 2013).