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Poem for Haiti


by Gillian Clarke


For the earth that shivered its skin like an old horse
For the shout of the sun, of the earth as it broke its heart
For the white palace that fell into itself like snow
For the hospital, for its rows of white graves
For the cathedral that folded on emptiness
calling God’s name as it went
For its psalms of sorrow, the prayers of the living and dead
For each house crushed with its cots and cushions and cups
cooking pots pressed between pages of stone
For the small lung of air that kept someone alive
For the rescuer’s hand reaching into the void
For the slip of a life from its grip
For the smile of daylight on a woman’s face
For her daughter dead in the dark
For the baby born in the rubble
For tomorrow’s whistling workmen
with their hods of bricks 
For scaffolding and walls rising from the grave
over rosaries of bones

By Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
January 2010

Lament has been read on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme
and published in The Guardian.

Gillian Clarke's website