(Photo by Ariel Poster: Women tend trees with the Green Belt Movement in Kenya)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Under the Mango Tree

Pictures from Guinnea-Bissau, my cousin’s new home.
Mired in indebtedness, one after another,
violent military takeovers since 1974.
The people locked into wrenching poverty.
But here, these photos of a dancing day,
any day, really, the women like flowers,
each a miracle of brilliant color,
headdresses elegantly crowning the gorgeous faces, full of life.
The music, five gallon plastic drums, gas cans or olive oil,
beaten with sticks under the mango tree
in the hundred-degree heat of the day.
So it’s time to dance!  Of course it is!
The elders gaze both outward and inward,
imagining the future, recalling the past.
The children gather, and it’s a party!
The women, without a word, circle ‘round, moving,
feeling deeply, much more than the drum can say,
the old words, the ancient voice the rhythm speaks.
Palms in the air, bent with devotion to Mother Earth,
the women dance, for this day, for this good day.

Annelinde Metzner
Black Mountain
May 9, 2012

Many thanks to my cousin Keith Metzner for the beautiful photographs.

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