September 25, 2012


They dwell in yellow quiet
these houses of the very poor
the homemade gas lamps are
expertly placed – just so
they do not flicker much
though still the shadows cast
are insecure.

The night brings yellow silence to
the houses of the very poor
the many children do not cry, though
it is hellish dark, in the corners
where they are –
except when gathered
round the wooden table
they fight over their shares,
bright tears and eyes in the yellow light.
But the justice of the elders is
God’s own, and silence
reigns over the chewing.

And yet in the quiet houses of the very poor
they drag no heavy feet
over the patchwork floors,
There is no rebellion in 
their placid movements       
Although the shoulders stoop
and veins stand out on
wrinkled hands and faces old
or not
At night the windows are shut tight
in the houses of the very poor
the next best way to iron grills
To keep the poorer out

                                                                   - Ma. Lorena Barros                                                                                
                                                                      The Weekly Nation
                                                                      October 2, 1967. p. 28

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