Sunday, September 30, 2012


I'd like to share with you a powerful poem written by Magalie Boyer following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  It comes to us thanks to Ruth at Ruth has posted a blog entry with this poem which also includes links to more about this poet in those early days of 2010.

For those of you who don't live here, it may now seem that the earthquake is far removed, an event long past.  Here, we see it every day not just in ruined buildings and in tents, but in such mundane things as driving around new piles of rubble in the street from a little more demolition done, perhaps with a hammer. It appears on faces and is a permanent fixture in the back of our minds. And there are still so many whose most basic needs are not met. Isaac finally blew down the tent that was still in our front yard, but the temporary buildings which are so much better than nothing at all are already beginning to wear.  New construction appears regularly - I must remember to post some photos! - and the palace is finally coming down, but there's just so very much to do.  It's moving along, it really is. You can see the progress.  But the people... You can replace a building, but you can't replace people. 

in memory of a friend no longer with us
construction project: monument in memory of the victims of the earthquake of January 12, 2010

Life was hard before; it is harder now.  My life is easy; I have all I need.  So many don't, and there is no easy solution.  Tomorrow, however, is the first day of school here and another beginning, a new chance.  The chalkboards may have been stolen.  Students and teachers may not have the books they need, never mind the computers and science laboratories they should have if they plan on college - but learning can't be stopped.  And it's learning that gives hope as another generation, bit by bit, is able to step up to the plate to meet the challenges before us. 

So, yes, a poem on the earthquake is still relevant.  And then some.  Maybe it's a prayer.

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

Thank you, Ruth and Magalie, for sharing this with us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment