Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Silence of the Children

Generally I try to make it a rule to not post my poetry on my blog. I try to keep my writing separated. Too much cross over and I get confused, and I have no desire to make a poetry blog at this time. 

But I just turned this poem in and my teacher seemed to like it. I had to write a piece that reflected a piece we read in class, so I wrote after Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "The Cry of the Children" which focused on child labor in England. 

How she wrote reminded me a lot of my time in Africa working with refuges and some ex-child soldiers. 

So against my better judgement, please enjoy. 

The Silence of the Children
for Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“How long, O cruel nation, will you stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart?”

I saw a boy, oiling his AK-47 across the street,
his cloth wiping back and forth along the barrel of the gun,
no father’s shoulder to bury his head into
no mother to wipe the tears he doesn’t cry away,
while we, brothers and sisters, turn away and distance ourselves,
surrounded by the American Dream.
We can’t hear them weeping, because they can’t cry anymore.

And why should they cry? Why should we care about Uganda
and the civil war that rip the country apart?
We are concerned for our tomorrow,
our next vacation, the children’s Halloween party,
the trouble of stopping at the grocery store to get food for dinner.
We surround ourselves with a cocoon of things,
to protect us from the sight of those who have nothing,
and refuse to ask them
why they are standing on a street corner with an AK-47.

I asked him, the boy, why he was holding a gun.
“If I don’t follow orders,” he says, “I’ll be killed.”
There was nobody with him.
“Who will kill you, why would they kill you?” I asked.
“They killed my brother, forced me to hold a machete
over his body and hack him to tiny bits, all the while screaming
my brother, my brother, have mercy on me.”
He kept oiling, back and forth along the barrel of the gun
no father’s shoulder to bury his head into
no mother to wipe the tears he doesn’t cry away.

I walked through the slum, looking for some hope,
tripping over feces left laying in the dirt. I glanced
down an alley way to see a child nursing her baby,
her breast hanging limply from a frame of rips, no meat
left, yet still trying desperately to save her only child.
I sat next to her, letting the flies that were surrounding
her to  engulf me too, and I asked her why.
“When I was abducted I was raped, made to be the wife
of a man who was as old as my father, made to please
him every night, no matter how tired. I ran away,
even though they told me they would kill me if they
found me. I ran away, because if I hadn’t, they would
have taken her.” She looked down at the baby,
and caressed her cheek, looking at her with the
love of the mother she didn’t have any more.

When I ask what they do for fun,
they look at me blankly, not knowing the word.
They don’t know about playing, about
drawing pictures in the dirt or jumping rope.
They tremble when they stand, legs
not able to hold their frames up, exhausted
from running all night away from Joseph Kony
and his rebel soldiers, their own brothers, sisters,
and friends turned against them, running towards
them with guns on their shoulders and anger
shinning behind their eyes.

They can’t see children when they look at each other.
If the wars could just stop, they could touch each other’s hands,
and help bring back the humanity to each other’s lives,
recover and forgive the adults that turned them into killing machines.
They could remember that they were made to be loved, not to be tortured.
But when I tell them about God, they say “He is the one
in who’s name we are killing. We kill in the name of the 10 Commandments.
We see a God of violence and hatred. A God that will kill
anyone and everyone to have his way. Death is the only answer.”

If I tell them God is good, they nod in agreement,
saying, “God is good all the time.” They think
killing will somehow bring them a place in heaven,
or at the very least, keep them from being killed, themselves.
They cannot cry tears for themselves, or their friends they
have left bleeding on the side of the road, because their God
also hates their tears. So they look at me without expression,
and say, “God is good, but not to me. He only loves Joseph
Kony. He only loves our masters who rape us and beat us.
He only loves when we beat in the heads of the weak
and defenseless. God may be good, but not to me.”

How long can they keep holding on and fighting a war
that is not their own? How long till we help nation,
and forget about our PTA meetings and birthday parties.
There are children that need rescuing,  having no
mothers or fathers to rescue them, killing their own
country. And the silence of a broken
child sometimes speaks louder than their wailing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Makin' it Easy

"Let no one who loves be unhappy, even love unreturned has its rainbow." - J.M. Barrie

photo props me

It's funny when a little online test can tell you things you already knew, but had forgotten a little. 

"Hannah is most likely benevolent, voluntarily giving of self to help others, especially regarding current pain, hurts, stress, needs, and problems." - MAPP Assessment

I sure hope so. 

I'm finding it hard to say what I mean. And express that while I'm not great at this whole benevolent thing, it's kind of a little dream I have to be better at it. And fill my life with little rainbows of love, shooting up and out from all parts of myself. 

And maybe, continue to grow down instead of up, kind of like a pretty amazing author I kinda like a lot.

So what have we learned from all this randomness?

1. Hannah desires rainbows of love in her life
B. Hannah wants to live up to her MAPP assessment and be benevolent towards all people
III) Hannah wants to find a way to remember Peter Pan, but live in the grown up world too.

She hasn't really figured any of these out yet, but she'll keep you posted.

photo props me

...and falling in love wouldn't be so bad either. 

1234 - Plain White T's

Friday, October 22, 2010

This girl thinks that....

...loving people is the greatest thing she can do.

photo props me

....the following picture is the story of her life.

photo props we heart it

...bubbles maker her real happy, and maybe kinda wanna act like a little kid again.

photo props me

...weddings make her real excited

photo props Eric EuDaly

...when a group of friends can laugh through break-ups, break-downs, and ugly after prom break-fasts, they are really something special. 

photo props Maci Schwenk/Austin Bishop

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The view from the back of the coffee house...

...is always the best.

photos props to me and Hero's Coffee

And here is why

I can see people come and go, creepy I know.

And I am near enough the main counter that I can exchange random words with the awesome employees.

And I can feel a part of things while feeling apart from things.

And I can spy on the hippie and see if she's doing her homework, or simply blogging like we always end up doing.

But nothings wrong with that eh?

And nothings wrong with a little depressing therapy writing either you.

"i am beautiful
just not enough

i fell in love
just not forever"

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'll think of you all painted with the night

photo props we heart it

Never have I wanted to runaway more, but running is hard in water.

I'm not sure how to fix myself, cause I wasn't aware until about five minutes ago I was broken. Good thing it's not my job to fix myself. I was the kid that took the remote control apart and couldn't get it back together. If I had to fix myself, I wouldn't even know what pieces to look for.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Word is Love

photo props we heart it

I'm changing how I look at loving people, and how I look at judging people.

Cause I think I don't, but then I do. And I push away people that could be my best friend.

I'm sorry that I'm not that great at the revolution known as love yet. I'll get there eventually.

The Word - The Beatles

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In the land of Pumpkins

photo props Megan Cook

Many people have asked me why I love pumpkins like I do...and there is no one reason. But here is my best attempt to answer this question.

They are:

an odd color...orange. Not many things are orange. They just beg you to look at them.

funny looking.

delicious tasting!

reminders of home and my mommy.

all different

They remind me of people. Some look pretty on the inside, but the outside is bumpy and bruised. Some look real pretty on the outside, but the inside stinks. Some are small but that makes them cuter and some are big and that gives me more to love. Some are awkward looking and some are pristine. They are all loveable. Every last one. If you just find the ways to love them.

photo props me

Mystery Pumpkin Song
(Maci put this on a mix for me ages ago and I can't find it anywhere else, but I wanted to share the song with you anyway, so go pause my player and listen)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

Because I'm feeling particularly happy with life today (and I'm trying to procrastinate) I thought I'd share something that makes me happy.

Jenny&Tyler have written songs about my life for years. I wish I could be their friends. I wish I could live their life.

But I know I have another life to live.

So I will just share the new happiness with you that is their latest CD preview.