02 April 2014

sea waves

The friendly and challenging people at tweetspeak poetry 
decided that National Poetry Month would be a great time for dare.  

In response, since I find it almost impossible to refuse a challenge, 
I am reading a poem a day by Jack Mapanje, a poet from Malawi.  
Not only will this expose me to new work, 
but will help keep my mind focused on Malawi 
as Rick and I continue to plan, pray and prepare.

today's poem is:

After Celebrating our Asylum Stories at 
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
by Jack Mapanje

So, define her separately,
She is not just another 
Castaway washed up your
Rough seas like driftwood,
It’s the nameless battles
Your sages burdened on her
People that broke her back;
Define him differently,
He is not another squirrel
Ousted from your poplars,
It’s the endless cyclones,
Earthquakes, volcanoes,
Floods, mud and dust that
Drafted him here; define
Them warmly, how could
Your economic émigré queue
At your job centres day after
Day? If you must define us
Gently, how do you hope
To see the tales we bear
When you refuse to hear
The whispers we share?

I read this soft, silently
then loud to the empty room
I copied it out on paper, crisp
white, blue lined
and then I allowed my own words to come

separately, differently
warmly, gently
if you hope to
know me
strip away labels
open your eyes
ears, heart
I am not like any other
trials like sea waves
have worn me
rough here, smooth
there, still drifting
if you ask
I may share
whispers left of me
when the storm calms

also walking in community with Emily and the broken redeemed


Maureen said...

Marvelous poem, I think. It speaks deeply to the immigrant experience and to the power of storytelling.

Denise said...

Your poem is awesomely amazing.

Dolly@Soulstops said...


wow...spoke to my heart..both poems...Thank you.

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