We woke up this morning to reports of full-blown civil war in Cote D’Ivoire, my country’s neighbor to west. We are distressed at the turn of events. But are we surprised? What is about some African “leaders” and their murderous, unquenchable thirst for power and money? For what purpose and to what end?
The theme for today’s 21 Days/21 Poems is war.
Some people fleeing some other people.
In some country under the sun
and some clouds.
They leave behind some of their everything,
sown fields, some chickens, dogs,
mirrors in which fire now sees itself reflected.
On their backs are pitchers and bundles,
the emptier, the heavier from one day to the next.
Taking place stealthily is somebody’s stopping,
and in the commotion, somebody’s bread somebody’s snatching
and a dead child somebody’s shaking.
In front of them some still not the right way,
nor the bridge that should be
over a river strangely rosy.
Around them, some gunfire, at times closer, at times farther off,
and, above, a plane circling somewhat.
Some invisibility would come in handy,
some grayish stoniness,
or even better, non-being
for a little or a long while.
Something else is yet to happen, only where and what?
Someone will head toward them, only when and who,
in how many shapes and with what intentions?
Given a choice,
maybe he will choose not to be the enemy and
leave them with some kind of life.
by Wislawa Szymborska and translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak