Friday, September 28, 2012

Poetry Friday: Earthquake Poem

After the earthquake I wrote here, here and here about hearing my friend Magalie Boyer on the radio, being interviewed on the American Public Media show The Story. Hers was one of the respectful, loving, and deeply sorrowful voices coming out of Haiti in those terrible days, an articulate Haitian woman speaking her sadness about what had happened to her country. 

This week Magalie shared a poem with me that she wrote about the earthquake, and I immediately begged her to let me share it for Poetry Friday. Here it is.

by Magalie Boyer

Some things we lost in the earthquake:

The Ministry of Planification and of External Cooperation and the Ministry of Public Health

The Ministry of Finance and of the Economy and the Palais de Justice

The Primature and the DGI

The National Palace


Sainte Trinite and Sacre Coeur

The Wesleyan Church of Carrefour-feuilles

Maxo’s records, complete with his new-born picture, from Chancerelle

And Mario, who was 17 and albino

Marie-Lucie, a nursing student, Marie-Lucie and her 98 classmates

The habit of hearing harmony in the city’s cacophony

(As if the ensemble of tap-taps and 4x4s could be a choir!)

Our casual relationship with rank misery

The ability to match our tears to our grief

Jacmel’s invincibility

The mask of sufficiency

The fig leaf of society

 Here is today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Tabatha said...

What a powerful, deceptively simple, moving poem. So glad your friend gave you permission to share it with us.

Marjorie said...

Oh my Goodness. Tabatha has said it: truly powerful and moving, with so many unexpected, slight shifts that jolt you into thinking about each individual entity outside the statistics that are so difficult to take on board after a disaster. Thank you so much, Ruth, for your urging, and to Magalie for allowing you to share it with us.

Sarah SSM said...

Wow. Just wow.

Powerful indeed. Thank you. Please thank her, too.

Do you think she would let me put it up with a link back to your blog for the sake of attribution?

Linda at teacherdance said...

Oh Ruth, this pushes at me with some of the sorrowful words, but also seems to exemplify those words almost at the end, "the mask of sufficiency". Thank you for making sure you could share.

jama said...

Thanks for sharing this. A list of devastation without end. So many powerful lines:

"our casual relationship with rank misery"

Mary Lee said...

Such pain. Such big pain for the country's losses and such sharp pain for the particular losses. And the loss of "The mask of sufficiency/The fig leaf of society." Wow. That's grim.

Author Amok said...

"The fig leaf of society" -- powerful last line. Thank you for sharing this poem, Ruth. List poems appear to be so simple, but when they are well constructed, there is emotional impact as the list builds.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

The mask of sufficiency
The fig leaf of society

What binds us...what keeps us apart....what a beautiful poem.

Anonymous said...

Ruth, I wrote it only last week, unexpectedly, really. Thank you very much for posting, and all who took time to comment. Magalie