Nile and Orphans #uganda #atozchallenge #Acholi

The water’s stories flow

she laps against my boat

pages of history turning

one torn proffered note

lazy sun lulled to sleep

 one hand in the nile

not very far off

 slanted eye, crocodile

a swish of his tail

for my hand it’s too late

better learn from history

spilt blood is her fate

awaken to the falls

book falls from my hand

so much life has been lived

on this river beauty, grand

*

can’t count the drops

seasons droughts and floods

orphans plentiful

Celebrating the strength and  beauty of the Acholi people and the Nile on this A to Z challenge Monday.

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An Ode to Hope #atozchallenge #poetry #photography

o

If only

there was a rainbow

at the end of every storm

rather than a tender heart

torn adrift, forlorn

*

If  Only

there was sunshine 

to greet with each new day

instead of  endless tears

washing banks of hope away

***

If Only

I within your arms

ta hield against the cold

breaking shadow’s  greying spell

that’s what’s been foretold 

*

If only I imagine

a warm and moonlit night

your sunshiny kiss

dispels the  lingering cold

of a wintry frosty mist

***

I can only

dream pink petal snow

brushing against my face

soothing all the sadness

not leaving any trace

*

I’ll only

close my sleepy eyes

ruefully hope and pray

to see your smile

joyous rainbow in any day

********

The Ode: A formal, often ceremonious lyric poem that addresses and often celebrates a person, place, thing, or idea. Its stanza forms vary.

The odes of the English Romantic poets vary in stanza form. They often address an intense emotion at the onset of a personal crisis  or celebrate an object or image that leads to revelation. (Information gathered from Poetry Foundation)

Traditionaally each stanza is 10 lines ( I ended up breaking mine down).

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Oksana – a story of survival #dailypost #children #world #Atozchallenge

painted rose

Oksana -It seems but days ago that you sat on my lap rattling off words in English proud of your ability to master  languages.

I present you with a new challenge to start at, a skill – teaching. “Oksana, take these pictures of words and hold them as you point to them. First say the word in your language, then say the word slowly in English.  Very slowly form the letters  “R_AB_BIT. ” Atleechna you are a natural.”

My eyes sparkle as I look at the proud face of a woman who never knew she would be a mama and certainly not at 65.  “Nina be happy. Oksana will make you proud. At six she is fluent in Russian and English and is attacking Polish.”

Oksana holds the cards with hands that barely shake. Just tiny reminders of the drug addiction she had as a baby. “Yes, you will grow beautiful like the rose and your knowledge of the world like its thorns will keep you strong.”

I silently remove the picture of a bottle from the stack of cards. It too closely resembles the scores of bottles that Oksana’s mama found herself wrapped around. They found Oksana’s mama at the bottom of her bottle one day; a screaming 5-year-old clutching to her ankles. “What was it you poured for yourself? Sleeping pills and Vodka? The Vodka never hid the scars that you got from your husband’s beatings did it? Oksana’s little body only survived because your body shielded her. Your older son Sasha was not so fortunate. What pile of broken glass does he lie under?  Prison is too good a place for a man who uses broken Vodka bottles to tattoo his son using blood as ink.”

‘”Da,” Oksana very good. You pronounced WA_TER well,  just a tiny hint of a V, but not much. Nina your love has cleansed this girl like water. Yes, she will always be old for her years and bear a certain sorrow, but look at her radiant smile.”

“Dance Oksana dance with the children as they play in the waves of the Azov Sea. Fly high with the gull;  he too has much knowledge of the world he sees below him. Crimea is etched with scars well hidden  in the sunlight, but you understand them.”

“Persevere Nina, this is a job for a young woman. The energy and vitality of this young mind will test you. Be strong for her. For one day Oksana will be a strong woman. She will hold the hands of other young girls who suffer at the point of the needle, are cast offs, or are used by men for momentary pleasure. Shield her from her mother and father’s world. She will always wear the scars like Crimea, but she will hopefully wear bravery like a crown.”

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I have fictionalized the story of a young girl I met while working in the Crimea enough so she can’t be identified. “Oksana’s” story is one of victory because she was rescued by a compassionate woman who lived in the neighborhood. “Oksana” would have otherwise joined her mama soon as most of the discarded children of that country do.

ctapaen-bottle-graphic-design

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I’m also using this story for the Daily Post at WordPress. The challenge is to write three paragraphs (Person Place and Thing), though you can choose to write more or less if you wish — the goal is to get you watching closely, observing, and collecting people, places, and things to use in your creative writing projects. It’ s story that I believe is poignant and needs to be told.