Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Persistence of Poverty

The irrigation canal,
As big as a New England river, slides by
Across the street from the clutch of houses
Where ours stands in a sad jungle
Worn thread bare by generations
Of impoverished cousins who live
In corrugated sheds that build heat
During the day which only a Puritan or
A Swede might relish or survive.
Man made, it looks to be a river
A child might draw: green grassy
Banks and tame water whose surface
Level is unnervingly close to the road’s
Gray tar. White cows with cocker spaniel
Ears graze the banks while birds with
Paper-white wings perch bareback upon them
In a symbiotic relationship which must have started
Close to the first cymbal clash of time.
But at night, women start unimaginative
Trash fires that smolder and smoke
On the banks but never become a blaze,
For this is not a child’s drawing
But a persistent land of poverty that
Water can neither erode nor fire burn.

FG 2008

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