January 17, 2010

Haiti:I Wonder As I Wander

"Haiti, land of blue sea and green hills, white fishing boats on the sea, and the hidden huts of peasants in the tall mountains. People strong, midnight black. Proud women whose arms bear burdens, whose backs are very straight. Children naked as nature. Nights full of stars, throbbing with Congo drums. At the capital lovely ladies ambergold, mulatto politicians, warehouses full of champagne, banks full of money. A surge of black peasants who live on the land, and the foam of the cultured elite in Port-au-Prince who live on the peasants.

Port-au-Prince, city of squalid huts, unattractive sheds and shops near the water front, but charming villas on the slopes that rise behind the port. A presidential palace gleaming white among palm trees with the green hills for a backdrop. A park where bands play at night. An enormous open-air market.

"Ba moi cinq cob," children beg of tourists in the street. Cinq cob means a nickel. They speak a patois French. The upper classes, educated abroad, speak the language of Paris. But I met none of the upper-class Haitians," - Langston Hughes, from Autobiography: I Wonder as I Wander, 1956.

From Andrew Sullivan: The Atlantic

4 comments:

Nora Johnson said...

What a thoughtful, moving piece, So Lovely! Thanks for bringing it to our attention in this way.

Hope you have a good week,

Lola & Nora:)

btw Just caught yr previous post & can only endorse other commenters' wise words. Please don't go- you'll be missed far too much!xx

Miss Whistle said...

this is lovely, had no idea Langston Hughes had visited Haiti.

Love,
b

Kaotic said...

What eloquent writing. Got here through the post put up at Backward in High Heels. I must check out his poems as some point too.

Julie said...

Very lovely! A chef-d'oeuvre! Thanks for sharing!