Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rwandan Litany

Here's the poem of mine that appeared in the spring 2007 edition of Portland Magazine, edited by Brian Doyle. Check out the magazine website for more stories and photos!

RWANDAN LITANY

Praise for the laughing group
of schoolchildren
& their chant: “abazungu, abazungu!”
Praise for the scarlet-crested turaco
wings flashing red and black,
pecking guavas split by the sun.
Praise for the priest’s forearm
corded with veins.
Praise for dugout fishing boats,
trolling Lake Kivu at midnight.
Praise for cowhide drums
beaten by men’s callused palms.
Praise for the widows, draped
in coarse cotton.
Praise for all manner of beetles.
Praise for yeast bread, baked
in rusted barrel ovens.
Praise for the overturned truck
on Kijabe’s slick curve,
a woman prematurely in labor
beside it.
Praise for rain on tin rooftops,
erratic tap-tap and din of water.
Praise for the market lady
and her piles of soap,
rice, razorblades.
Praise for the plastic shunt
in a child’s skull,
draining excess fluid.
Praise for coffee beans.
Praise for red dust
caking each eyelash.
Praise for voices rising
from terraced banana groves.

4 comments:

Africakid said...

Picky thing--the lines after each sentence beginning with "Praise" are supposed to be indented, but I couldn't get Blogger to format it that way. Any knowledge you'd like to pass on re: how to do that is welcome.

Body Soul Spirit said...

Your word pictures are very vivid! I can see and hear Rwanda.
Sorry...I cannot help with the formatting problem.
Ruth

Betsy said...

that gave me chills!

Just tried giving you a solution but it wouldn't let me publish the comment with HTML code in it. Will email you in a minute...

Holly said...

This spoke to me. You are a gifted writer.

And you're right as to your comment at my place - Oregon is the best State in the 50 :)