Friday, February 08, 2019

Poetry Friday: Jacmel

This week I read this article about a bakers' strike in Jacmel, Southern Haiti. Then I wrote this poem and illustrated it with photos I've taken in some of our many visits to Jacmel, one of my favorite places on earth.
No Bread in Jacmel

In Jacmel,
the bakers are on strike.

They say
a few weeks ago,
a sack of flour cost
one thousand seven hundred and fifty gourdes
and this week
it costs
two thousand five hundred gourdes.

They say
they can’t pay their employees.

They say bread is rare now in Jacmel
and people are lining up for it.

The bakers interviewed by the newspaper
speak from their bakeries,
Plan of God
Gift of God,

Where today they are not producing
pain au chocolat
pain de campagne
any other delights
which you could normally find
to carry home
through the streets of Jacmel.

In Jacmel
they know people don’t live
by bread alone.
They have poetry on the beach
and colorful mosaics
and you can buy paintings on every corner.

In 2010 an earthquake
stopped the cathedral clock
but they got it started again
and time went on passing as before.

The ocean is blue
and the houses are painted in pastels
and it looks a lot like it did a hundred years ago
except of course for all the motorcycles
zipping back and forth.

In Jacmel
the bakers pray
that God will give them this day
their daily bread.
And so does everyone else.

Ruth, from

Laura has today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Irene Latham said...

Dear Ruth - I remember reading about the lack of bread in Aleppo during the thick of fighting, when there were blockades everywhere. So much we take for granted! And I love the bit in your poem about the earthquake stopping the clock, and it being restarted. Your love for Jacmel shines in the poem... have you thought about putting together a collection of your Haiti poems? What a gift that would be to all of us not living in Haiti -- and of course to Haitians as well. xo

Linda B said...

I searched for pictures of Jacmel, your favorite place, Ruth. It looks wonderful. Hoping for the bakers to get some relief from the prices! I enjoyed your descriptions in the poem, imagine you imagining those tastes as you write of the problems, too. The ending caps it beautifully.

Tara said...

So much more than just the baking of bread going on in that town, Ruth...may those bakers have their prayers answered.

Karen Edmisten said...

Bakers on strike -- so elemental, so sad. I hope they can get it resolved soon and get back to their daily bread.

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

What a beautiful town, and yes, may you all of this day your daily bread.

Tabatha said...

Love your poem, Ruth. So glad you can let us know what's going on.

laurasalas said...

The cathedral clock that detail. Thanks for sharing this town and poem with us!

Christie Wyman said...

Oh, Ruth. How terribly sad. Bread truly is the staff of life. I hope this is resolved soon!

Michelle Kogan said...

I hope the strike doesn't last too long. I like the bits about the city you included here, "poetry on the beach, mosaics," the earthquake and the clock stopping–good flavors of the city bringing it into focus for us, thanks.

Jone said...

I’m sorry for the strike. I hope it’s short. I loved this stanza:
In Jacmel
they know people don’t live
by bread alone.
They have poetry on the beach
and colorful mosaics
and you can buy paintings on every corner.