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Prayers & Tributes

Read the poem below in Creole, French or English

Aprè  Tranbléman  Tè a. (Creole)

16 janvié 2010. (written on the 16th of January 2010)

Bon Dié, Papa nou, ki nan sièl la,
Sé ou sèl ki espwa pèp ayisien an.
Si ou pa té la,
Nou tout ta gentan disparèt.

Dépi nan tan lontan, lontan,
N-ap soufri.
Soufrans nou  komansé an Afrik.
Nou débaké en Ayiti,
N-ap soufri jouk jodi-a.
Malgré tout mizè nou pasé
Ou pa kité nou disparèt.
Sé ou ki té kréé nou,
Sé ou ki Papa nou;
Gen pitié pou nou!

Ou wè yo té vann nou,
Yo té achté nou,
Yo té révann nou,
Men nou toujou la.
Gen pitié pou nou!

Gen pitié pou ti bébé yo,
Yo vlé tété, men manman yo pa gen lèt…
Yo grangou, papa yo pap travay !
Anpil jén jan ap domi nan lari,
Nou ta krié, men nan poen dlo nan jé nou anko.
Papa Bon-Dié, gen pitié pou nou!

Tè a bouké, li pa ka bay rékot anko.
Moun vlé travay, nan poen travay:
Ti métié pa rapoté anyen,
Tout moun ap lévé pati,
Péyi-a  ap pi pov chak jou.

Sèl richès nou genyen,
Sé kado ou té ban nou:
Nou gen kouraj pou nou goumen ak la vi a.
Ou ban nou kè kontan pou nou chanté,
Pou nou prié, pou nou souri,
Ou ban nou espwa ké démen maten
Soléy la ap lévé pi bèl,
Sièl la ap pi blé,
La fwa nou ap pi solid…

Ségnè, prèske tout pèp la disparèt nan tranbléman tè sa.
Konbien ki mouri? 50.000? 100.000? 300.000? Nou Pa konen!
Sa nou konen: tout Aysien dlo nan jé.
Ségnè, gen pitié pou nou!

Tan pri Papa, siyé dlo nan jé nou.
Ban nou fosa k kouraj pou nou pa sonbré nan désèspwa,
Fè nou lévé tout ansanm, min nan min
Pou nou mété péyi a kanpé.
Jodi a, tout pèp sou la tè ap asisté mizè nou.
Fok you jou tout pèp wè ou mété péyi a kanpé.
Pou ké tout pitit « Dessaline, Pétion ak Toussin »
Ka gen you bèl ti péyi ki rélé « Haïti Chéri ».
Gen espwa pou Ayiti,
Paské Bon-Dié sé yon Bon-Dié,
Ki bay la vi ak tout bon bagay.

*****

Après le Tremblement de Terre (Version Française)

Notre Père qui es au ciel,
Toi seul es notre espoir.
Sans ta divine providence
Nous aurions déjà disparu.
De tout temps, nous côtoyons la tragédie,
Si nous survivons, c’est grâce à toi.
Prends pitié de nous!

Déjà en Afrique, nous avons été vendus;
Puis revendus et achetés de nouveau dans les Antilles.
Malgré ce triste destin, nous avons conservé notre identité.
Prends pitié de nous!

Pitié pour les bébés privés de lait,
Pour les mamans affamées,
Les papas sans travail: …
… Pour les enfants de la rue
N’ayant ni pères, ni repères…
Seigneur, prends pitié de nous!

Le sol est épuisé, la faim nous tenaille:
Après le travail forcé, le repos forcé,
Pour le paysan, l’artiste et l’artisan.
La terre s’érode, la vie s’étiole,
Le pays se vide…
Prends pitié de nous!

Par ta grâce, nous pouvons souffrir et lutter,
Sourire et danser,
Chanter et ESPERER…
… Que demain la soleil se lèvera plus radieux!
Seigneur, notre Dieu, après cette catastrophe,
Nous ne parviendrons pas à compter nos morts,
Ni leur donner une sépulture décente.
Le nombre donne le vertige : 100.000? 200.000?
Nul ne sait!

La mort frappe partout : les cadavres gisent partout.
Chaque famille est en pleurs: toute la nation est en deuil.
Dieu de toute consolation, Dieu de toute espérance
Relève-nous, Seigneur, relève notre pays.
Relève-nous aux yeux de tous les peuples,
Devant tous les témoins de notre sinistre calvaire.
Fais que ce coin de terre légué par nos aïeux,
Irrigué par nos larmes, fécondé par nos pleurs,
Renaisse et s’épanouisse comme une fleur tropicale.

*****

After the Quake (English)

Our Father who art in heaven,
You alone are our hope.
Without your divine providence
We would have already disappeared.
Historically, we have encountered tragedy,
If we survive, it is thanks to you.
Have mercy on us!

Already in Africa, we had been sold;
Then resold and bought again in the Caribbean.
Despite this sad fate, we kept our identity.
Have mercy on us!

Pity for the feeding babies,
For the hungry moms,
The fathers without work ...
... For the street children
Who have neither fathers nor references ...
Lord, have mercy on us !

The soil is exhausted, hunger strikes us:
After the forced labor, forced rest,
For the farmer, the artist and the craftsman.
The land is eroding, life withers,
The country empties ...
Have mercy on us!

By your grace, we can suffer and struggle,
Smile and dance
Sing and HOPE ...
... That the sun will rise tomorrow brighter!
Lord, our God, after the disaster,
We did not manage to count all our dead,
Or give them a proper burial.
The number is staggering: 100,000? 200,000?
No one knows!

Death strikes everywhere: the bodies are lying everywhere.
Each family is in tears: the whole nation is in mourning.
God of all comfort, God of all hope
Lift us, O Lord, lift our country.
Lift us in the eyes of all people,
Before all the witnesses to our sinister ordeal.
Grant that this piece of land bequeathed by our ancestors,
Irrigated by our tears, fertilized by our tears,
Be reborn and flourish like a tropical flower.


Muir Woods outside San Francisco. Photo by Michelle Okabayashi.
Muir Woods outside of San Francisco. Photo by Michelle Okabayashi.

Redwoods

The trees stood tall and strong
Roots deep
Green limbs reaching to the sky
Unswayed by wind or rain
Living in the fog
A testimony to God’s goodness
God’s creativity

Lightning strikes twice
The crack, crash, moan of splintering wood
The weight of their being
Plummeting to earth
Clearing a path
Across the stream
Up the mountain

The giants lay in the mossy peat
Their roots, deep below
Still alive
The cords that tied
These giants to the earth
That fed them
As they pointed boldly to God

These roots give new life
New giants in the making
A circle
A testimony
A remembrance of what they began
Continuing the work
That bridges heaven and earth

– for Sam and Clint

©Michelle (Scott) Okabayashi 2010


A Prayer for the People of Haiti

Out of the depths we cry to you, O God.
We cry to you for our Haitian brothers and sisters.
We thank you for upholding them in their struggles.
Give them continuing strength and comfort.
Give us love and courage to stand with them and work with them as they struggle for justice and freedom.

Keep us committed to the truth and empower us with your Spirit of love:
A love that always sees possibilities for peace founded on justice;
A love that seeks justice without vengeance and retaliation;
A love that reaches out to enemies, as Jesus taught us.

We trust in your continuing mercy as we bring to you our own desire to be in active solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

O Lespri Sen, desann sou nou; nou gen yon misyon pou Ayiti.
Holy Spirit, descend on us; we have a mission for Haiti. Amen. 

-Origin Unknown. Courtesy of Tom and Wendy Vencuss.


Greenland

The ways deep and the weather sharp,/ The very dead of winter.—T.S. Eliot 

Tribute to colleagues who died in Haiti, January 2010
by Linda Beher

That morning I awoke to the sound of sleet.
When I looked out the window
Main Street was a northbound ice floe.
I crept back into bed, with such a deep need to sleep,
to let that ice press its weight on me for days,
knowing both its condolence and its menace
for the living and the dead.
Then I dreamed among the ash trees bent in ice
low to the covered sod, seeking
heat. They trust a provisioning God,
the one whose grace leaves the essential sheen
and strips away all we did not need.

Could it be true
that our living bodies are only chests for something deeper than science,
an essence freed when the final ice pierces
us in our beds? Then passes our Greenland of long, broken days—
while we glazed and stricken survivors hunt
for handkerchiefs and with our bare fingers
try to rub the window clean.

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