Welcome to March and the month of the Slice of Life Challenge! The Two Writing Teachers have challenged me once again to write every day in March. My students will be participating, too at their blog site, Slice of Life Challenge. Please stop by and make a comment or two. They love visitors.
It is also Poetry Friday. For more of the round-up, go to Julie Larios’ site The Drift Record.
Last weekend I attended a Wordlab writing workshop. My friend and fellow poet, Diane Moore, led the writing prompts. She showed us the painting below. This is Lovensky. She was born with AIDS in Haiti. She died not long after Barbara Hughes visited the orphanage and was moved to paint her portrait. Diane shared her own poem, reprinted here with permission. The poem appears in her collection, Alchemy. I wrote a poem to the painting during Diane’s workshop.
(Upon viewing a painting of a child in Haiti, rendered by Barbara Hughes)
My mother passed her AIDS to me,
wishing me to be blind
so I could not see the wretchedness
in the streets of Cite’ Soleil;
my one good eye watches a shadowy face,
a woman smiling at me,
her wide mouth opening and closing,
murmuring like a dove circling my crib,
and my hands close around happiness.
I embrace her.
l cannot perceive the future
although I dream under a pink washcloth
that unburdens my many fevers.
I did not see Haiti’s trees felled
or the disappearance of the Creole pigs,
the hilly streets filled with sewage,
but I can smell the sweetness of orange blossoms
and Sister tells me she placed
a white orchid in my crib.
The wings of invisible forces brush by me,
I see stars I have never seen
on the ceiling of my memory.
I had a mother and a father and lost them,
believed in no one until I came here,
everything through a glass darkened.
Before that, I lived
in the footsteps of dying children
who left their auras behind,
silver dust that shimmers
in the dark air of Port au Prince.
Once I dreamed of kindness,
now I lie in its blue blanket,
listening to the bell of Sister’s laughter
and the echoes of my own,
to stories about my father’s place,
the one of many mansions.
We all know our destiny because we love,
Sister sings to me:
our spirits burn with visions of God
and the brilliance of heaven.
Because we love
we know this place of many mansions,
one of them is yours.
With my toes clasped in my hands,
one eye closed against the suffering,
I long to make my voice speak,
to tell her how deeply I hope
for the liberation of resurrection,
equality and harmony seated at a table
in one small room
filled with unfailing light.
Diane Moore, all rights reserved
The heat of your soul,
your fever, warms the blue blanket
you have tangled yourself into.
You cannot see me,
yet you cock your head
to hear my lullaby.
I am not your mother.
You grab your toe
as any infant would,
exploring your new world.
I want to hold you,
take away your mother’s curse,
the fever that seeps into your veins.
I want to walk with you in the garden
to smell the sweet olive,
give you a taste of sweet honey.
I cannot tear you
from the page you are painted on.
I can only love the pink towel
on your forehead,
the white diaper hugging your brown legs.
I can love the God who made you
and holds you now..
in your blue wings.
-Margaret Simon, all rights reserved