Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A coincidence and a connection

The first time I wrote about the homeless situation in Edmonton, like most ignorant U.S. citizens, I had no idea what province it was in.

So I typed "Edmonton" into Google and at the very second the answer popped up, some character on television introduced herself to another character. "I'm Alberta," she said. Since then I've realized I drive by Alberta St. every day on my way to work.

Tonight I was checking my mail and was struck by the daily quote in Sojourner. It reminded me of a poem I wrote in the early years of Arise for Social Justice. So here are both:

We campesinos are used to planting seeds and waiting to see if the seeds bear fruit. We’re used to working on harsh soil. And when our crops don’t grow, we’re used to planting again and again until they take hold. Like us, you must learn to persist.
- Elvia Alvarado
from "Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart."

There are those of us who love poor soil
who flourish in the struggle
who throw our seeds
proudly on land
where others before us
have taken too much.
In drought, we seed early.

For those who cultivate for profit
we are an endless trouble
for we dare to choose a barren field
over oblivion.

At best, neglected,
at worst, plowed under,
our bodies enrich the earth
and our children are insidious:
they reach for light
even before
breaking the soil's horizon.

Our legends are in their genes.

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