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In June 2005, a young Progreso man was riding in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of friends. They had been drinking. As the truck sped around a corner he was thrown out and died instantly of head injuries. Our landlord’s son was also in the back of the truck and witnessed the traumatic event. This is what prompted this particular poem. Why not share it with another young person today?

Vulnerability

What is it about young men,

That makes them feel so invulnerable?

From birth,

They view each new obstacle

As a challenge

To their imminent manhood,

Needing to prove themselves,

To their peers and families.

 

As children, they seek

To reach heights, fearless

To the consternation of their mothers.

Higher and higher,

Becomes bigger and better,

As they reach adolescence.

In their mid teens –

Faster and faster

Is their reality,

As they get behind the wheel of a first car.

In a few short years,

They have gone from Mickey Mouse

To macho – a societal image,

Not to be outdone by their peers,

Not to be outrun, out-drank, out-scored,

Outlived – higher, faster, and stronger!

 

Totally unaware of the frailty of life,

Refusing to accept the inevitable,

Until that moment –

By tragic circumstance,

When in a blazing crash of glass and metal,

They come face to face

With mortality,

Learning too late,

That they were vulnerable

All along.

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Some of you may have already seen my photos of the Monarch butterflies who recently visited our tree in Progreso. Interestingly, this was the next poem I was going to post…it was written for a young friend who had to make a decision about moving forward or backward in her life.

First up is the photo –

Monarchs in Mexico 2010

 

The Lesson of the Butterfly

Never is it easy

To make a decision

The outcome of which

Cannot be known

Or even perceived,

At a given moment,

On our earthly journey.

 

We can choose either to stay,

And confront the challenges – seemingly alone,

Which our Spirit presents to us,

Or we can return to the cocoon

From whence we came –

A safe, familiar place,

Called ‘the past’

 

The lesson of the butterfly

Is that the latter choice

Is not an option.

For a butterfly to become

The beautiful creature God envisioned,

It must never look back,

Never regress,

From that point in time,

When it prepared to emerge.

 

To do so,

Its promise is lost,

As is its promise for grandeur.

Afraid to face its future,

Afraid to fly in the face of adversity,

It can never BE

What it might have been

Had it chosen to spread its beautiful wings.

 

This is a test! Try out your high school Spanish and then read the English version next…

La Playa en Abril

 

Amanecía

La playa es muy tranquila.

Como las aves fragata

Vuelan por encima,

Esperando su primera comida

De los pescadores,

Quién ha pasado la noche

En el mar.

 

El mundo despierta.

Las palmeras

Sacuden del rocío.

El sol comienza a brillar

Abriendo los ojos de la gente de abajo.

 

Primero, los vientos soplan dulcemente,

Como a la luz del día

Comienza a brillar más fuerte.

Mucho calor. Esto es México en abril.

 

Las mujeres buscan el refugio

Debajo de los paraguas

Los niños imploran a sus madres

Que los lleven la playa.

Todos los padres estaban en el trabajo.

Los madres ceden a sus peticiones.

La niñez es breve.

Los veranos son largos.

Los niños y las playa

Pertenecen juntos.

 

 

 

Okay…April has long passed, but this is the next poem in the sequence as I wrote them. Originally this was written in Spanish as I was trying to use my new language skills in a practical way. The inspiration for the poem was the steady stream of women and children walking past the house on a beautiful Spring day!

Like a lot of poetry, translation from one language to another loses some of the flow. This is the reason I am also posting the Spanish version…

April at the Beach

Dawn.

The beach is very quiet,

As the frigate birds

Circle overhead,

Waiting for the first meal

From the fishermen,

Who have spent the night

On the sea.

 

The world awakens.

The palm trees

Shake off the dew.

The sun begins to shine,

Opening the eyes of the people below.

 

First, the winds blow sweetly,

As the daylight

Begins to shine very strongly.

Much heat. This is Mexico in April.

Women seek refuge

Under their umbrellas.

 

Children plead with their mothers

To take them to the beach.

All of the fathers are at work.

The mothers give in to their pleadings –

Childhood is short,

Summers are long.

Children and beaches,

Belong together.

 

Translated from the original Spanish version “La playa en abril”.