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This is the poem Morgan Freeman read from on the Hope for Haiti Now telethon.
photo by: Lynda Koolish

Tomorrow's Toussaints

By Kalamu ya Salaam 

this is Haiti, a state 
slaves snatched from surprised masters, 
its high lands, home of this 
world's sole successful 
slave revolt, Haiti, where 
freedom has flowered and flown 
fascinating like long necked 
flamingoes gracefully feeding 
on snails in small pinkish 
sunset colored sequestered ponds

despite the meanness 
and meagerness of life 
eked out of eroding soil 
and from exploited urban toil, there 
is still so much beauty here in this 
land where the sea sings roaring a shore 
and fecund fertile hills lull and roll 
quasi human in form

there is beauty here 
in the unyielding way 
our people, 
colored charcoal, and 
banana beige, and 
shifting subtle shades 
of ripe mango, or strongly 
brown-black, sweet 
as the suck from 
sun scorched staffs 
of sugar cane, 
have decided 
we shall survive 
we will live on

a peasant pauses 
clear black eyes 
searching far out over the horizon 
the hoe motionless, suspended 
in the midst 
of all this shit and suffering 
forced to bend low 
still we stop and stand 
and dream and believe

we shall be released 
we shall be released 
for what slaves 
have done 
slaves can do

and that begets 
the beauty

slaves can do