Poet Jean-Dany Joachim grew up among poets in his native Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He wrote a poem entitled To hear and to see are two different things, that’s true after he had witnessed the destruction of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Today, two years and one day after another massive earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan, I share this poem with you.
I went and I am back, tande ak we se de
It was like in a dream,
or one of those movies that show the after world.
Two hundred years of words I will need to describe
the desolation my eyes have seen.
Two hundred years of memory to heal the scars
many years of labor,
and many more years of relearning.
I saw Port-au-Prince with its guts open,
its bare bones exposed to nothingness.
I saw tangible fear.
I could feel the anxiety and the anguish of the survivors,
but also I saw life waking up slowly.
That reminded me of ants,
coming out of their holes after a heavy rain.