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Friday, January 12, 2018
Poetry Friday: My Earthquake Poems for the Eighth Anniversary
One of the changes that the earthquake made in me was that I became much freer about sharing my writing. Before it happened, I hardly ever shared my poetry. I didn't even tell where I lived, let alone show my soul the way poetry does. It was a huge step for me to post this poem about the Hotel Montana at the end of January, 2010, and I even said in the comments that it was scary but that I found the courage to do it because of what my friends in Haiti were doing.
I don't know what you know about Haiti. Lately some hateful things have been said about the country and its people, but take my word for it, as someone who has lived here a large percentage of my adult life: Haiti was a beautiful country before the earthquake, and it remained a beautiful country after the earthquake. It was full of beautiful, courageous, strong people before, and it still is. But there was something about that "earthquake time" that was special; people came together in amazing ways to help each other and care for each other. It was unforgettable. I won't ever forget it, and neither will anyone else who was here and who saw it.
These poems are about my own experiences. I wrote about what happened in prose here and here and here, and then rehashed it again and again through the whole rest of that year. There are many posts in my archives about the situation in Haiti and what was happening to other people, but my poems are very personal and don't reflect anybody else's views or experience.
In April 2010, I posted Earthquake Vocabulary.
In May I posted Morning, about missing my husband while I was in the US and he was still in Haiti doing relief work.
In November I was back in Haiti, still struggling with the emotional aftermath, and I wrote Wave. Later that month I wrote Ordinary, about how much I appreciated the normal day to day aspects of my life after being away from home for so long.
In January 2013, for the third anniversary, I shared This Quilt.
In December 2013, I posted Sounds from this House. This is an example of a poem that I didn't expect to be about the quake at all when I started writing it.
In January 2014, I shared my poem about being evacuated from Haiti after the earthquake, called How to Pack an Evacuation Bag.
In March 2015 I posted Tears. This one wasn't explicitly about the earthquake, but it's certainly one of the things I do still cry about, even now.
For last year's anniversary, I wrote Memento Mori and How Long Healing Takes in Port-au-Prince.
I've written much, much more - poetry and prose - about the quake. Writing was one of the things that kept me sane, and continues to do so.
On Sunday we gathered with our church family and shared many stories of our memories from that time. My husband commented that there are things you get over, and things you never do, and perhaps January 12th, 2010, falls in the second category. While we go days or weeks now without thinking about it, it's always a part of who we are. It changed everything.
Today's roundup is here.
Photo credit: I'm not sure who made this image, but it is widely used every year as a profile picture on Facebook.