Welcome back to Member Monday! Today we feature a poem by Alicia McCauley. She crafted the first draft at the January Writers Forum meeting with Susan Wooldridge. Alicia is a local teacher and has spent the last two summers teaching Creative Writing in Northern Uganda. She will return to her home in Uganda in July. To learn more about her upcoming trip, click here. Alicia will be showing some of her photos from Uganda (along with snippets of her stories) at U Top It on Churn Creek from February 22nd-26th. U Top It is donating a portion of sales on the 22nd toward her work in Uganda. Alicia invites you to come and see the people and the land that have captured her heart.
Drumbeat of Hope
by Alicia McCauley
Africa constellates my dreams.
At night in the clarity between sleeping and waking
I feel the throwing absence
Of being away.
Bombs chant lightning across the sky
Of my peopled plain
The plain where Musee
Gray with wisdom
Picked the groundnuts
That dried in the sun
In circles like prayer mandalas
On the red earth.
I think of the groundnuts
Skinned in pink
The color of the kisses Africa leaves on my nose and cheeks.
War was once a horrific abstraction
Far from my Viewpoint house
Where campaigns of summer ants summitted my naked feet
In the grass that I once thought was green.
There is no green like my home in Bungatira.
I am a person of the forest.
At night I listen for the voice
That quells the trembles and the white fear of war
Fear that dampens the feathers in my pillow.
In the dark folds I strain for peace.
I count beads of praise.
And in the shattered sanctuary of night I feel the ache
Of my promise to return.
To Musee’s groundnut mandalas.
To red dirt.
To green forests.
To my peopled plain.
The voice in the night drowns out thundering bomb ghosts
And ushers me back to sleep.
Africa kisses my eyelids
And into my heart she presses
Her drumbeat of hope.
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