Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Sparklers


Last week’s prompt for the Comeback Bloggers: write about an event (or events) that revealed to you the world was not simple, that moved you from being a child to being an adult.

During my younger years in Burundi, I sensed the tension between different Burundian groups at times, but just in small ways. I’m not really sure when I realized the enormity of that conflict, which ultimately led to many killings and caused neighbors and friends to flee to other countries.

One event which remains especially vivid in my memory is finding out soldiers had taken away our African pastor and his sons. They were never seen again, and presumably died at the hands of the government. Such happenings made me wonder, “Why them and not me?”

Initially, my poem started out with a fun image, lighting sparklers in the back yard, and then evolved to include thoughts on “vanishing.”


FOURTH OF JULY IN BURUNDI


At twilight
the sly Southern Cross
beams,
convinces us
it’s brighter than
our Northern
constellations.

Mother takes us outside
to celebrate America’s Fourth,
continents away
from grandparents
uncles, aunts,
cousins.

Sparklers fizz.
Our tilted faces
here
and gone
there
and vanished.

How many faces
vanished
over the border
into Tanzania
just across
rows of mountains
filling our picture window?

Each of us
children
screams
“Light another!”

Night closes in.

We clutch
the thin wires
as sparklers
sputter
and fade.

6 comments:

KGMom said...

Thank you for this, Laurie. I hope you keep posting in response to the prompts.

Jayne said...

I think the realization for many of us that the world saw groups of people differently has to be a universal "coming of age" moment. Proof that racism is purely learned, and can be eradicated if love prevails. Thanks for sharing, Laurie.

Anvilcloud said...

What a fine poem that in light of your commentary shows the resilience of the human spirit. I have just been reading a mystery in which the Yugoslavian nightmare of the 90s played a part. It's amazing how tribal we are even though we are one species.

Ruth said...

The imagery in your poem is brilliant. I am sure your early experiences with injustice have had a lasting impact on how you view the world.

altar ego said...

What a treat you have shared with us. Thank you for that, and for your thoughtful words and spirit.

Laurie Cutter said...

How wonderful to read all of your comments! So glad you understand what I was trying for in my poem. Sometimes poetry is easier to use when the subject matter might be painful...at least for me. Looking forward to future posts from all of you!