Peace Corps Writers
5 Poems from West Africa (page 2)

5 Poems from West Africa
page 1
page 2


    The lantern made
    A light creaking noise
    As it swung by my side
    On a walk through the village
    Of red mud and grass
    That was a labyrinth
    Lost somewhere in time
    Thousands of years ago
    I don't remember
    If I walked in the light of the moon
    Or in the darkness
    When I came upon
    The orange glow of candles
    Coming from a room with walls
    That would fall in the rain
    There was a woman laid back
    On an old bamboo chair
    Giving birth in the center of the room
    In the center of the ancient village,
    In the center of Africa
    And what felt like the
    Very center of time itself

The Shadowless Light of Memory

    She saw a leaf leave the tree
    And float down away
    From the perfect blue sky
    In the white light of the day
    A kind of shadowless light
    Painting itself on all sides of the leaf
    She quietly watched
    Until it landed in her palm
    Lightly, the way memories
    Fell onto her mind
    Like those of Africa
    Of the people's eyes
    As if constellations
    Lived in them
    Shooting stars, twinkling stars,
    Night skies filled with stars
    Were the people's eyes
    And at times
    The stars became veiled
    As if behind a cloud
    Until the storm passed
    And the stars shone once again
    In the clear sky
    Of their eyes
    The shining backdrop
    Of the memories
    That fell like leaves
    Onto her mind


Carrie Young lived in a small, rural village of Mali without electricity or running water. She is inspired by the effect that living so close to the natural world had on her, and wants to share the beauty and reality of that experience with others. She also feels that it is her responsibility to tell the story of the people of her village who took her in like family and generously shared their lives and souls with her.
     After the Peace Corps Carrie spent a season living and working in the south of France, and then worked as a researcher for National Geographic Magazine from 2002–2004. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in creative writing.

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