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Passions in Poetry

The Greeting

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Elizabeth Santos
Member Rara Avis
since 11-08-1999
Posts 9405

0 posted 11-14-1999 07:59 AM       View Profile for Elizabeth Santos   Email Elizabeth Santos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for Elizabeth Santos


An unplanned urban village spreads beyond the visual space
Ten thousand stilted houses built in total diarray
A collage of gray rectangular abodes
Suspended high above the mud flats of the bay

Empty stilts awaiting there, still settling in the mud
For the rightful squatter to build upon some day
A vulture perched upon a splintered post
With eye in all directions calmly watching for its prey

A slowly rising ocean tide below the boarded shacks
Lifts discarded waste up from the muddy floor
Sewage, trash and little human babies all afloat
In the calm and murky waters near the shore

Too harsh a vision for the unaccustomed eye
Too cruel a sorrow for the young and sheltered heart
Of a stranger from another world who enters willingly
Into the stark realities of a life so far apart

There on a mission to fulfill a certain task
She attempts to disregard the ugly heat swelled stench
As a hundred curious eyes watch every move and step
Wondering the purpose of this young woman's quest

She stops and hesitates, ill at ease to walk upon
Precarious bridges leading through the crowded maze
Uneven planks that sway with every taken step
No rail or post to stabilize the way

And yet a pregnant woman walks with gentle grace
While balancing a heavy weight of water on her head
Her muscled neck now thick from many years of toil
Sure-footed as she disappears with purpose and with stead

Then hearing sounds of children from below
The stranger glances down beside the walkway at her feet
Several boys having jumped into the murky filth
Play in waste filled waters to relieve the tropic heat

Loud chattering and shouting voices from the mass
Strange sounds and syllables unheard until this day
The studied language skills cannot detect a word
Of a dialect of poverty on the fringes of the bay

Filtered out from all the strange unwanted sounds
A familiar word "Americana" spoken soft, but clear
Amid the cluttered noise of crowded planks and shacks
One single word calls out and warmly beckons to her ear

She looks around and spots a little girl of six or seven
A half-clad youngster smiling with little arms outreached
Who runs and tightly hugs the unsuspecting visitor
And speaks the universal language of a kiss upon the cheek

So grand a gesture from a small, but worldly child
Such a warm and graciuos welcome to this far off place
From a six year old completely void of innocence
A childhood trait that misery has cruelly stripped away

And in that moment an acute awareness comes to grip
That within the desperation and squalor of this site
Abides a rich and overflowing well of human souls
From which to draw and learn the true significance of life

Elizabeth Santos
© Copyright 1999 Elizabeth Santos - All Rights Reserved
Senior Member
since 08-16-99
Posts 1251

1 posted 11-14-1999 08:37 AM       View Profile for caroline   Email caroline   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for caroline

A practiced eye can find beauty anywhere, and an open heart invites it. I see you have both Elizabeth. Wonderful piece

"Tread softly, for I have spread my dreams under your feet"~~William Butler Yeats

Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA

2 posted 11-14-1999 08:48 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The true beauty of life lies within us, not around us, which you so exquisitely have pointed out.
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

3 posted 11-14-1999 09:34 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yes, this is beautiful. Again, well done, Elizabeth.


Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA

4 posted 11-15-1999 09:11 AM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Well written and beautiful
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