[poem] STILL – for Haiti

By Tolu Ogunlesi

Is Haiti a page
torn out of a Book
by Someone who thought

This doesn’t belong here,
and got angry
at being cheated?

Is Haiti that Book,
sitting limply
in a rain of televised dust

trampled underfoot by bewildered bodies
for whom life and the afterlife
now share one side of a coin

Is Haiti Atlantis Reloaded –
death this time by debris; one endless moment
of misfortune? Ta ta. Two hundred thousand

unrequited goodnights, uttered swifter
than the speed of darkness
in a land locked in by History, lit
by pity, lost in the glare of camera lights

By the rivers and ruins of Haiti
I sit and sing of restless spirits
rehearsing a re-enactment of 1804;
of Emancipados swollen with dreams
of their children pummeling
the stubborn children of Code Noir

The Book bleeds
but still it holds on to its meaning
Its pages swell with alien pity
but still the characters that inhabit them rise
like the land that threw them off balance

still they sing
still they attempt to dance

even when the music watches
from a safe, safer, safest, distance… 



This poem appears in A LIME JEWEL – Anthology of Poems and Short Stories in aid of Haiti, edited by Yetunde Ruban, and published in London in October 2010. Order it on Amazon, here


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