15 January 2010

Swirling Thoughts Poem - Libations Friday! 15 Jan 2010

*** A poem about how we are all so connected that one person's misfortune feels like our own. This is a poem for the people of Haiti in their hour of need following a high scale earthquake that left rubbled ruin across the country - because this is what a Social Issues Poet (SIP) writes...

The cathedral of Port-au-Prince is badly damaged, yet remains standing. Photograph: Frederic Dupoux/Getty Images

From Denny: One of the most poverty racked countries in the world is Haiti. Three days ago a 7.0 earthquake shook the entire country and flattened almost every building beyond repair. Over 50,000 people are known dead and that count will rise in the coming weeks as the world descends to help Haiti as they did us when Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana.

Here in Louisiana we know how long it takes to repair the infrastructure even when you have funds. It's been over five years and there are still parts of New Orleans that look like a war zone. Our devastation was nothing like what Haiti is experiencing today as most earthquakes of large magnitude only shake the earth for a few seconds. Haiti's earthquake lasted a full minute.

Since I have a charity worker female cousin, a classical musician, who travels back and forth to Haiti, well, this disaster affected me as well. I finally found out she was in Haiti at the time, visiting a small village outside Jacmel, the other side of the island but at least away from the epicenter of the earthquake.

One of her brothers, a rock musician, queried her extensive network on Facebook. Turns out my cousin was traveling with a priest and a nun to that small village. I guess the Catholic Church had word of their people and they relayed word about my cousin and others who were with them. As a journalist I'd prefer to track back the raw intelligence data to verify because it is too easy for communications to get garbled both by misunderstanding and emotional hysteria in a time of catastrophic crisis.

Trying to find out word about friends and relatives is useless at this point. Rescue efforts are still trying to figure out how to unload the relief supplies at the airports in a timely manner. Then they were met with the fact all the roads are destroyed to truck in the supplies to the people - even the ports are badly damaged for ships to arrive. Like former President Clinton remarked, "We need more helicopters as that's the only way to get supplies to those in terrible need."

I did view an iReport on CNN yesterday of a man in charge of an orphanage, 43 children, in Jacmel. He looked to be under high stress though the children were doing well. The roads leading into Jacmel were destroyed and rescue is still unable to reach them. So, if my cousin is still alive, she awaits the world to show up at her doorstep.

Swirling Thoughts

Like drifting snowflakes my thoughts clutter around me.
The cold winter air undulates around the room, sweeping the floor.
My woolen blanket winds tighter, huddling to comfort.

As my thoughts swirl onto the paper, my fingers struggle to write.
More than my thoughts swirl, airborne, exploding bits of world thought.
A terrible earthquake smashed a country and a people’s spirits: Haiti.

End Times prophets declare their gloom and doom.
Scientists talk about unpredictable natural disasters.
Politicians plead for mercy and kindness from the world.

Photograph: Frederic Dupoux/Getty Images

As the news unfolds moment to moment: a baby rescued,
An old man dead under the rubble, a young mother dies unexpectedly,
Photographers snap the swaddling wrapped body of a dead five year old boy.

People wander past collapsed homes, ignoring the quiet dead on the littered streets.
The media descends to bring us images no one should have to see in their minds.
Shock gives way to fear and fear to anger and restlessness as the needs grow.

A woman walks among debris in Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Gregory Bull/AP

The families and friends all over the world jam the phone lines for word.
Governments mobilize to send rescue; the whole world flying in to help.
Roads are impassable to bring food and water; airports lack crews to unload supplies.

Confusion, disorganization, a smashed infrastructure, injured and dying all swirl.
One doctor helps hundreds, no hospitals left standing, make-shift blanket tents erected.
Medical supplies trickle in for two million in need; many injured cannot be helped.

People like me pour though the International Red Cross database to locate the missing.
We call our State Department only to get dropped off the line for overwhelming calls.
We email all we know, read through Facebook and Twitter streams, hope against hope.

United Nations worker Tarmo Joveer from Estonia celebrates after being rescued. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The world holds its breath, hoping, praying for everyone in catastrophic need.
The 7.0 earthquake only shook for one minute, smashed a country, the world stopped.
Yet the human spirit will rally in its poverty to lift up, renew and build again.

An image of Pope John Paul II still hangs on a wall cracked by the earthquake. Photograph: Gregory Bull/AP

My prayers glide over the ocean to settle upon the Haitian land to bring comfort.
My heart gathers up their souls to calm, bring Peace while they struggle to survive.
My thoughts still swirl wondering when rescue will reach my cousin trapped in Jacmel.

Denny Lyon
Copyright 14 January 2010
All Rights Reserved

Dennys Global Politics: Haiti Flattened by 7.0 Earthquake, Awaiting Rescue, Charity Worker Cousin Survived

*** HAITI RELIEF - Find missing relatives or friends:

From the International Red Cross: Haiti earthquake 2010

Register your relative on a list from the International Red Cross

In America, CNN is offering an iReport version of searching for a missing relative or uploading a photo and name to their search engine, go here.

Haiti Missing People Board

Earthquake Haiti Facebook group

*** Trustworthy Charities to Which You Can Donate:

Doctors Without Borders

Oxfam America

International Red Cross
How CNN says you can help

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