Wednesday, April 09, 2008

today's poem is...

For which, I apologize. But after watching two hours of Idol Gives Back, complete with dying kids in Africa, poverty in Kentucky, I just wasn't happy. I think I want to go to Africa.
But, in any case, I revived something I wrote as prose last year after seeing The Devil Came on Horseback, about the genocide in Darfur. You should see it. Or at least see some of Brian Steidle's photographs. Amazing and horrifying. I'm in awe of people who have such courage. This, then, is the poem.

Poem To Be Read With Eyes Closed After Looking at Brian Steidle's Photograph

There was a girl.
See her?
She curves in the shape of sleep
red dress clinging to her bones
her wrists might slip from the chains
that bind her to the tree where
she was burned
she is a heap of ash

don’t ask yourself how old she was
don’t ask where you were
or what you were doing when

the problem is evil
is injustice
is the men on horses with knives
and guns

but what do these words mean?
knife gun
I have heard them spoken
but I don't understand

don’t ask what you could have done
I’m sorry, but she’s not the only one
Think: it could have been a girl in a pink
skirt or the baby I saw, tiny in a yellow blanket

Don’t say I didn’t know
Don’t ask what could I have done
It’s both too late and too early

See this hand and the muscle
in it, the red still living
and don’t ask why
do it now


Nik said...

That is depressing. And rightly so. But well done.

Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Lynn, I thought this was a very strong poem. Thanks.