An Elegy For Haiti

January 13, 2024
1 min read

HAITI CHERIE  By Annie Quarcoopome 
Saturday, January 16, 2010.
What word can encompass stretch its arms and wrap them aroundA day when the world returns to the dust it wasBefore we fashioned orderly chaos and became freeThe First Negro Republic raises weakened arms to wipeThe AshFrom its eyes water and ash to mould human tragedyWhat word can encompass… we have asked beforeEncompass passion itself when it screams whimpersHaiti mwenHaiti nouNou la épi zotThe word that encompasses has not yet been createdBondyé ki pa bonThe word cannot be foundUnder the rubble of ash and water edificesBuildings made from tears and dust that crumble into a void of screaming and lossA hellish void of independence and burnt out communication lines sparking revolting revolutionary painAnd yet is Haiti so epic thatHurricane-proofed we sink into the earth from whichYo diWe cameThe dead in the streets and the word cannot be found the dust will not settle for the word to be foundShe hides in the folds of warm pervasive stench heavy and loud as shattered eardrumsShe cavorts with criminals buried under police stations and wives caressing newborns to deep deep sleepReveal yourself, word!One hundred French citizens buried beneath a thousand Haitian bodiesKi té ké soucouri corps mwenAnd they keep comingThe hitsThe hitsLes coups n’arrêtent pasWhat more do we ask but to find the word that canThat willReach long arms around the day when God gripped us in His loving handsAnd shook and shookFinalityHe set us down gently like lambs beautiful black sheep andPoured ashes onto our heads?©Annie Quarcoopome 
Annie Quarcoopome is a poet and writer. She is also a regular contributor to Black Looks , where this poem originally appeared.

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