ART CHECK

The lament of black tears

The shocking assassisation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse prompts poetic reflection

In Summary

• We long for the day Haiti will be an island no more watered by red rain

Haiti President Jovenel Moise addresses the media next to his wife Martine. He was assassinated
Haiti President Jovenel Moise addresses the media next to his wife Martine. He was assassinated
Image: FILE

Black tears, we cry them at dawn / We drop them on this Isle of Hope / We shed them in, we shed them in

Black tears of the one with coffee / Twisted into a cup half-full of blood / Twisted into a body dressed in red

Black tears rain like haikus on Haiti / Raising their own threnody of here / Where stretched in shock is an Isle

Black tears, that we cry as we die / In the hall of stately palaces of hope / Where revolution has eaten its own

 

There comes a time when a nation / Is larger than its history of revolution / When the nation, the entire earth is…. There comes a time that is a crime / A time to stare into the senselessness / Of political vacuums that echo volumes

There comes a time when suns set West / Yet they rose in the West itself somehow / Yes...! they rose in the West as Black Sun.

Now there is nothing here, only ashes / Now there is nothing here, only elegies / Now there is one thing here: threnodies!

 

Grasses of remembrances bear new dew / Lawns of a palatial garden stately, behold / The flowers bear witness to this spectacle:

In a republic that walks backwards into time / Stands the shocked figure of a dead leader / Marking time like a revolution half-expressed

And in the dying notes of a national anthem / Rises the echoes of liberty made by slaves / Who shed black tears to raise hope as a flag

 

There may be more quakes upon this island / Quakes yet to come mirroring others before / Quakes both natural and manmade, I tell you

Yet even in the vaults of such familiar horrors / Haiti, you shall swell like the tide at nightfall… / You shall hug the shores of your own identity

 

Haiti you shall raise the black palanquin of hope / Upon hefty shoulders of a futuristic chronotope / You shall march like a god to the Port of Princes.

And in that moment like this one marked by awe / You shall be an isle no more watered by red rain / You shall be this threnody of black tears of Faith

 

Dr Makokha teaches Literature and Theatre at Kenyatta University. He is a published poet, too

Haiti police present weapons and some of the detained suspects to the media
Haiti police present weapons and some of the detained suspects to the media
Image: REUTERS