To continue in the celebration of American Archives Month, here is a moving poem written by Kate Daniels about a young girl, thrust into the chaos of war.
Also, remember to send you poems to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance at being featured on our blog. For details, see our last blog post: “Honoring American Archives Month” and send us your poem.
War Photograph by: Kate Daniels A naked child is running along the path toward us, her arms stretched out, her mouth open, the world turned to trash behind her. She is running from the smoke and the soldiers, from the bodies of her mother and little sister thrown down into a ditch, from the blown-up bamboo hut from the melted pots and pans. And she is also running from the gods who have changed the sky to fire and puddled the earth with skin and blood. She is running--my god--to us, 10,000 miles away, reading the caption beneath her picture in a weekly magazine. All over the country we’re feeling sorry for her and being appalled at the war being fought in the other world. She keeps on running, you know, after the shutter of the camera clicks. She’s running to us. For how can she know, her feet beating a path on another continent? How can she know what we really are? From the distance, we look so terribly human.
Collecting photos or historical objects is a wonderful way to look into the past. As a part of the celebration of American Archives Month, the Writing Center invites you to write a poem reflecting on a photo from your or your families history, engaging the reader in a story that goes beyond the still image. Once you have written your poem, e-mail them to the Writing Center at email@example.com, where it will have the chance of being posted on our blog! Be sure to include your name, year, and major in the e-mail. We are excited to read your poems and cannot wait to post them for others to see!
If you need a little help getting started, take a look at Gabeba Baderoon’s poem below!
Old Photographs On my desk is a photograph of you taken by the woman who loved you then. In some photos her shadow falls in the foreground. In this one, her body is not that far from yours. Did you hold your head that way because she loved it? She is not invisible, not my enemy, nor even the past. I think I love the things she loved. Of all your old photographs, I wanted this one for its becoming. I think you were starting to turn your head a little, your eyes looking slightly to the side. Was this the beginning of leaving?