Sunday, June 6, 2010

si m mouri, ou pral mouri!” (2)

si m mouri, ou pral mouri!”
(if i die, you die!)

once an island lush with trees, ayiti is
bereft, her mountainous breasts bare,
their covering ripped by hunger’s rapine
hand. the cold aromatic sea breeze with its
tangy, fishy smell meets an acrid warmer air
from a land smoking, redolently reeking of
wood burning on lle de la gonave, stacked
in whitened piles eternally curing, then
bagged & distributed in les arcahaie.

the people cry out: “nou vle manje; nou pa
mouri!” (we want to eat; we do not want to
die!) but the land screams “ou ap tiye m!”
(you are killing me!)

ninety eight per cent of her forests gone,
fifty-odd thousand grieving trees felled each
day like brittle warweary soldiers under truce
to clear the way for summer floods to wash her
rich, nutrient topsoil into the sea. riding bare
back on the scent of charcoal are the foul
cadaverine & putrescine bouquets that beckon
skulking desertification, the scavenger who
will surely come to clean the island’s bones!

but the people insist: “nou vle manje; nou pa
mouri!” (we want to eat; we do not want to
die!) & the land screams “se mwen menm
mouri!” (i am dying!)

are there no environmental regulations? no
subsidiaries for alternative fuels? where is
government? behold bureaucrats, the mango
tree is too precious to cut down. plant mango
plantations. tell yr people to plant corn, sorghum
& beans between a few mango trees on their
small farms. harvest the towering mounds of
garbage, recycle the paper. use that as cooking
fuel! there are no shortages of solutions!

terrace farm the mountains! cultivate plants
that will thrive on mountainsides, whose
roots will hold in place, stabilize & regenerate
the soil. behold businessmen, there are haitians
who know how to do this, who are doing this
already! where is the money? & where are the
teachers, the each-one-teach-ones who persuade
the people that killing the land brings on their
own unconscionable & inevitable demise

the people rejoin: “nou vle manje; nou pa
mouri!” (we want to eat; we do not want to die!)
& the land responds with resignation ”si m mouri,
ou pral mouri!” (if I die, you die!)

© Joseph McNair;2010


  1. I agree completely! instead of investing millions of dollars for things like off shore drilling and such that, as we can clearly see, is absolutely dangrous to the environment and the health of not only the animals but the people as well. we should be figuring out ways to convert or massive landfills overflowing with waste into an alternative fuel. we could never possibly run out of waste and it would help us to eliminate or at least condense the landfills by significant amounts. if there are people who know how to do this then we should be going to them to see how they are doing it so that we can benefit from it as well. this is to protect and save our future!

  2. This poem reminds me of the troubles we are facing today. We take everything for granted and do as we please without looking at the lifelong consequences. Little by little we are killing everything around us because of our selfish ways of living. Our actions affect everything around us and in return can eventually affect the way that we live. If we are slowly killing our Earth, then we will slowly die with it. We cannot expect to make irresponsible choices and still live perfectly fine. The human race needs to drastically change their ways because they are not only making it difficult for those living in this world today, but they are also making difficult for future generations.

  3. This poem is addressing the current state of Haiti. It talks about the current state of the country and how mainly everyone on the island is impoverished. It also talks about how the people are crying out how they do not want to die and the country is crying back out to them “I am dying.” The poem also gives solutions to the current problems. If the Haitian people are able to pull together then the country can be saved. I agree with this but I also know it will take a lot. One of the main changes that will have to take place is the corrupt government.

  4. The poem “si m mouri, ou pral mouri” or “if you die, I die” is a very powerful poem that talks about the suffering that is going on in Haiti. It explains how the people are suffering, and the environment is being torn apart. If it continues this way, Haiti will soon be completely destroyed. People are being so careless that they will end up destroying nature and everything around them. I agree with this poem in its entirety. I also believe that we should be finding ways in which we can help this beautiful island and its people. Who are both suffering gravely as they are watching everything around them demolish without being able to help.

  5. I think this poem holds true for many third world countries; their resources are being depleted. It seems like the people aren’t looking at the big picture. They see that they need something, they find it out in nature, but they don’t replace it. Its okay to cut down trees but the important thing is that you replace those trees because not replacing them is detrimental to the land. They’re just thinking in the short term; instead they should start looking at the long term. The problem is they don’t have a real government in place. It seems like they need someone to make some environmental regulations for the people to stick to. If not, there possibly won’t be a future for countries in these situations.

  6. This piece is one that “hits home” for me for this disaster in Haiti is one that affected my family personally. This piece is one that goes to place a voice to the land of the country in correspondence to its people; a voice that is never heard and often forgotten. What I found interesting about this piece is that the voice that is given to the forestry of the land is one that is unforgiving. It has a revengeful tone is saying that if it dies it will take the people with it. Though the particular event that this piece takes reference to was tragic beyond words, the environmental message behind it is one that all should reflect on. That if the environment is not properly tended to and neglected which would then lead to its demise, the people will suffer as well.

  7. This poem is very important to understand because it describes what is being done to Haiti. There are so many people that are making themselves the main priority that they don't think of others. Not only do they not think of others, but they don't even come to the realization of how the land is being treated.
    The land is trying to say it is dying, yet ofcourse the people just do not want to listen. Because of this, the people don't realize that they are digging up their own graves. They are not understanding that what they are doing to the land will eventually affect them as a whole. And this is the sad part about it. That people think they are taking care of themselves, however, they're really not, they are destroying themselves as much as they are destroying the land.

  8. According to the poem, it talks about the people in Haiti who are asking for help and foods. And also crying out how they don't want to die. It's been like that for a long time since Papa Doc died. But the question that I would like to ask is how can the government fix this? But I think the government is a big part of it. Instead of spending or stealing money why they don't try to create more school and jobs. And only the government can't fix Haiti, I Think we all Haitians have to put together, Act like brothers and sisters, help each other and hope for a better future.

  9. This poem is basically talking about the disastrous state of Haiti. In the poem it states that Haiti was once a beautiful and well off land. How did Haiti become the way it is? The government has a lot to do with the status of Haiti. The fact that they are not doing anything in these people times of trouble.A lot of the trees are gone they are cutting them down without any regulations and also not replanting them.They can come up with solution for the people why aren't they? But also the native people are some what responsible as well they can come together to make their home land more fruitful. Everyone wants power forgetting to look next to them and behind them for the people in need.

  10. This makes me very sad. The help that is so desperately needed isn’t forthcoming in the necessary for to catapult a people or a country on a whole. The true test is in the people standing together to force change. True empathy will come from a country, a government’s sincerity and unselfishness to recognize, organize and get recovery and healing underway and commit to see it through.