Friday, October 12, 2007

Poetry From Afar

TWO FRIENDS OF MINE LIVE IN AFRICA.  Jim Wallace and his son Iain, 13 years old, live in Kigali, Rwanda.
Rwmap They have been there since May. Jim works teaching English, and Iain goes to the local school. They live with a Rwandan family and share the life of the Rwandans.  This is a country with a tragic history of bloody, genocidal conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis, two different tribes who fell upon each other with savagery.  Now this amazing country is healing these devastating wounds and building a strong economy   based on the rule of law and the freedom of the press and speech.  Amazingly, the foreign aid money that goes to Rwanda is actually spent on the programs for which it is intended.  That is rare in developing countries.  I applaud their  bravery to give up a comfortable life in Vermont and give of themselves to these Rwandan people. 
Iain wrote two poems which he sent to me, and I am posting them on my blog because they are so good!  I suggest that you do a Google or Wikipedia search for Rwanda and then go to GoogleEarth to look at the country.  Put on your seven league boots and travel.

Arctic to Tropic
by Iain Wallace

Soft snow falls lightly. My cheeks a rosy red. Pines, burdened with the evermore intense weight of snow on their branches. Weighing, testing, to see how strong they really are. Near frozen on these frigid alpine slopes. I walk putting one foot in front of the other, feeling my frostbitten toes more and more painfully with each step, effort, and breath.
I look down the steep mountain slope, coated with a taiga to the very bottom, sliced through by an icy white river.
Sweat, pouring, soaking my shirt. Heat, humidity. Intense, overwhelming. A sheer intensity of deep dark green. Trees rising from the soily floor, touching the sky. The constant hum of cicadas. A bird chirping, through the thick tropical haze. I hear the constant pitter patter of rain, no, the constant deafening sound of rain. I see huge roots have been wrenched from their earthy home by merciless storms.
"I wrote these poems in French class and revised them in math and physics." 
                                ~Iain Wallace, Kigali, Rwanda   10.10.07

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