Monday, January 18, 2010

Take me to the River: Poem on Haiti from Rudy Lewis

This is from Rudy Lewis, poet and editor of Chickenbones, an on-line literary journal.
Take Me to the River

—A mixed lyric medley

based on songs by philosopher of soul Al Green

Fruit trees in the yard are budding

in mid-winter, as a cold rain falls.

Two million are homeless, wandering

among the crushing earthquake without

food, water, shade, a pillow and bed

on which to cry in the peace of dreams.

Dead limbs lie by a tree trunk, a squirrel

scampers across the yard and climbs

aloft. These tragic street scenes burn

my eyes to tears, so heart-shaking

as I look in brown eyes of horror & loss,

as mountains of the dead burn. Their souls

like fire-flies mended fly to a we-can-call-on

God? Squeeze me, I can’t embrace this newness.

Take me to the river. Let me walk in water.

We been loving Haiti’s people, forever,

in times happy and sad. The earth’s unsteady:

houses pancake: flesh, limbs, futures crushed.


Some drink from potholes in this dry season

while women cook patties of clay, oil, and salt

as breakfast and dinner. This diet gets down in

marrow of bones. Oh, baby! Pretty woman

walks impassable by-ways with blue burdens

of two centuries. Her eyes, her smile deceives.

Take me to the river. Let me walk and be washed

in a dunking of baptizing words. Let a new world

rise skyward for you and me. All our troubles

are not in dust. Forgive me, I dream tomorrow.

Rudolph Lewis, January 18, 2010

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