Monday, October 25, 2010

The Meaning of Being Haitian (Poem)

The Meaning of Being Haitian

If I should die,
think only this of me:

a shadow in memory
I understand I be

no more and one more
a count in breaking news

named and claimed
but stilled

in paradise.

You who culled our grief
absorbed in earth revolting

on a January afternoon
take now the measure

of single breaths
striked in chaos controlled

beneath tarps flapping
wind-caught and undone

your mouths re-masked
against the fault line

of recovery.

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas


I wrote this poem for Carry on Tuesday, which each week provides a prompt that participants are to use wholly or partly in an original poem or prose piece.

The prompt for Tuesday, October 26, consists of the opening line of Rupert Brooke's poem "The Soldier": If I should die, think only this of me: . . .  Brooke wrote the poem in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I.

To read other Carry on Tuesday contributors' poems or prose for Prompt #76, go here.

Note: Although it is indicated at Carry on Tuesday that one need not produce something somber in response to Brooke's poem, I had to use the prompt as I have after coming across a CNN post in which the writer described being at a dinner party at which a guest asked, "Is Haiti worth saving?"

* * * * *
I also offer this poem for One Stop Poetry's weekly "One Shot Wednesday" event. Be sure to visit the site late Tuesday afternoon and every Wednesday for links to the many contributors' "one shot" poems.


drew said...

Maureen -
You always have excellent resources. Thanks for sharing.

Doug Spurling said...


Thank you for the rich text reminder of poverty we should never forget or ignore. Bless you

KB said...

A beautiful piece but a tragic event.

gs batty said...

beautiful words for a wonderful cause. nic writing

From my Mind, Body N Soul Within said...

very well done i enjoyed reading ur poetry


From my Mind, Body N Soul Within said...

love ur work

Megan Willome said...

Excellent--"the fault line of recovery."

Basque-Land said...

Thank you for this sensitive poem. Tarps and remasked faces...sigh.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable what that CNN journalist heard at the dinner party. Really, it's hard to believe.

As always, your words in poetry are striking, pulling out from the depths.

Anonymous said...

Love this Carry on and One Shot. Love and Light, Sender

Anonymous said...

once again your post amazes me with the simplicity and strength !!

Steve said...

Love the spareness/tight structuring of this poem. Excellent.

rob kistner said...

this was very moving Maureen...


Desert Rose said...

great cause you are writing about here Maureen, loved the intensity..Excellent stuff! :)

SuziCate said...

your mouths re-masked
against the fault line

of recovery. - that's a fabulous line!

Beachanny said...

The spaces between every two lines were last dying gasps giving power in structure to the content of your lines. The pain and suffering you present is exquisite to the point of tears. Thank you, Gay @beachanny

Dulce said...

Paradise has different perspectives
so well presented in this great poem
Great , Maureen

Bloggin'withAmanda said...

I hope that "Guest" is never in the position where other query if they are worth saving!
Did paid great tribute to the seriousness of the Haitian plight!

Brian Miller said...

great textures to the piece...the tarp flapping...strikes a cord with me...delicate yet intese touch...nice one shot.

Anonymous said...

a shadow in memory
until memory fades
and the sun rises
on a new day
a new beginning
no going back
no retreat
carry on
to give all
we can

signed...bkm said...

Great take on that first line... the ending is perfect with the "mouths re-masked"...

you have made be curious to take a look at Carry on Tuesday....thank you...bkm

Shashi said...

Thanks for this one.. its so poignant..

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

Jerry said...

Thanks for interupting my detached life. I could see the scene...without CNN. Thanks for using words so effectively.

Chris G. said...

You sensitively handle a very delicate, very tragic topic. You capture the pain and the suffering, and with it, move your readers. Fine work.

Nick Rolynd said...

Wow...this is simply gorgeous!

dustus said...

"beneath tarps flapping
wind-caught and undone"

Multi-layered with stark imagery... beautiful poem illuminating great tragedy

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your poem is well-timed as the death toll continues to rise in Haiti.

Shell said...

I find that you are so adept at going to the heart of the matter with a simple, skillful grace. Beautiful.

Claudia said...

this was a strong and tight write maureen - we sure shouldn't forget haiti and what happened - and your words are a good reminder - thanks!

Anonymous said...

"striked in chaos controlled" very very strong, well done, sad events..your words flowed so much emotion, beautiful tribute... ~April

Sandra Heska King said...

"no more and one more
a count in breaking news"

Those words stopped me. I had to keep going back. So sad.

Mona said...

That is quite a balanced view!

Whitesnake said...

Excellence at it's best!
Very well put!

Pete Marshall said...

you are so consistently good..this was a wonderful heartfelt write...cheers pete