Tea in a Bombed-out Alley
I stumbled on them in an alley
while looking for a school.
I had heard children’s voices, bouncing
over a ten-foot wall.
I never found the school,
instead the Hamera family.
They were splashes of dancing color
in that brown, broken-down, rubble-strewn alley.
Laughing and chattering,
they smiled a welcome to me.
Mrs. Hamera wore henna-painted flowers
winding up her legs like friendly snakes;
the baby was passed from welcoming arm to arm.
They greeted me like a long-lost friend
and offered tea in a cherished china teacup
blue flowers entwined through ivy around its rim,
treasured through bombings, fleeing brutality,
and other horrors survivors suffer.
Despite the dismal, dust-blown alley,
it was an enchanting afternoon.
Like their treasured teacup, I will carefully cushion this memory
from the shocks of life.
These delightful people surviving and laughing
brought grace and hope
to the art
This poem describes one single incident, but it also delves into, for example, how we choose to view our lives, what we save that is meaningful to us, both in the form of a teacup and a memory, and a consideration of the impact of war and poverty on individuals. It is from Voice of a Voyage.