A small group of us meet occasionally over dinner, ostensibly to talk about new ideas in international development. Mostly we just have a good time; sometimes we forget to talk about development.
My friend April asked one day "Why don't we read more poetry? What if we started off each dinner with some poetry?" At first I thought this idea was little nutty - like a lot of April's ideas, to be honest (please don't tell her I said that). What does poetry have to do with development, anyway? But then I realized that good poetry makes us happy. And that development is about enabling people to be happier.
So on this cold Friday afternoon, I am going to tip my hat to April and publish the following poem, which makes me very happy. It is by my god-daughter, Evelina Kats, who gave me permission to print the unedited version below. I recommend both the written and audio versions.
HOME BY THE FIRE
the fire that has burned all day
lets fly warmth and
a column of silver smoke brings faces, shapes, a battel begins
the warmth clayms the hearth
whilsaling with high pich, shreachsks of terro
as the cold retreadts and warmth ancreases,
we kindel the fire and,
pink, blue, purple and orange flames
dance upon the crackling logs hissing
the hissing continues
but the colors fall back as there
leader the most powerful
emerges yellow, his queen purple, dances with him
his brother claims the embers
keeping them orange
my puppy, pursuaded by the flame
transforms into a pussie before my very eyes
ling down by the fireside
she chews a stick
crunch, munch, hiss,
I am home by the fire
after a long rainy
day at school.
-Evelina Kats (2010)
Reprinted by permission of Evelina Kats and her parents
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