Sunday, July 01, 2007

Country Meme

Annie tagged me for this meme. It was fun and interesting to do.

Take a country whose name begins with the last letter of your surname. (a) Jane Doe would take Ecuador, for example, or Egypt. England (like the USA and Ireland) does not qualify. Wole Soyinka would take Angola, or Afghanistan. If you can't find a country with that letter (and only then), move back a step. (b) Jane Doe would take Oman, in that case. And as for Wole Soyinka, he would go for Kazakhstan, or Korea. And so on. See?

Tell us what the capital city of the country is.

Say how many inhabitants that country has.

Find and share with us a poem in English of not more than 20 lines from that country. If it's longer, cut it to twenty lines or less.Tell us something you particularly like about the poem you've chosen.Add a line anywhere in the poem (beginning, middle or end), and clearly show which line is yours to avoid confusion and/or ambiguity.

Thank you. Please tag two people

Haiti is the country first to my mind for the last letter of my name. There have been books about Haiti I have wanted to read. The first is Mountains Beyond Mountains.
I was struck by Haiti's poverty and their pandemic of HIV/AIDs. Their median age is only 18.4? Incredible. We take so much for granted in the United States.

My country is Republic of Haiti
Capital: Port-au-Prince
Population: 8,706,497

The poem I found:

Whenever I have nightmares
It's the tonton macoutes I'm dreaming about

The other night I dreamed

They made me carry my coffin on my back
Everyone on all the Port-au-Prince streets was laughing at me

There were 2 or 3 boys not laughing

The other night I dreamed

They made me dig my grave in the cemetery
Everyone on television was laughing at me

There were 2 or 3 girls not laughing

The other night I dreamed

A macoute squad was getting ready to shoot me
Everyone was laughing

There was an old woman who wasn't laughing

Those little boys and girls there -
If I say more the devil will steal my voice

I'd rather that God would steal my voice
let me sing with angels, watch over the old woman and the children

The old woman
Is Shooshoon Fandal
They brought her to see the macoutes shoot
Her 5 sons on a street in Grand Gosier.

-translated from Haitian Creole by Jack Hirschman and Boadiba

This poem is a snapshot of the Haiti's past. It is the era of Duvalier's Touton Macoutes, the "bogeymen". It made me think of another book I have long wanted to read, The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat. I dream a lot. Dreams are powerful. I dreamet about nuclear war about being invaded as a child. The Bay of Pigs situation with the IS and Cuba had that affect on me.

I tag Julie and Regina Clare Jane. Actually anyone can join in. A great meme.


Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi there
Well at least I can think of some countries for this, so I just need to find a poem! Thanks for tagging me!


Regina Clare Jane said...

Now this is a different kind of meme! Thanks so much for tagging me, Jone! I'll work on it in the next few days!

Rethabile said...

Sad, sad poem. Brilliant job altogether. Nice line you added. I knew about the HIV difficulty Haiti is having. I had no idea there were over 8 million Haitians!

Thank you for teaching us a thing or two about the country.

Patry Francis said...

Hi Jone, Thanks for stopping by my blog even though it's currently in hibernation. I wish I could go to the party you're having for Laini, too. Hope you'll post pictures!

gautami tripathy said...

This is informative. I did not know much about Haiti. You line you added goes well with the poem.

I too had fun doing this meme!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've done it! Here is my post: it's a great meme to get you exploring the poetry of other countries.