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The Silence Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Paula, Rwanda Dec 20, 2004
Health   Opinions


The Silence I remember the times I’ve woken shaking
With horror
Followed swiftly by sweet, overwhelming, exhilarating relief –
It’s not real, my nightmare:
The world gone,
Annihilated at the fleeting whim of an invisible monster
Leaving me, the only survivor, powerless and alone.

And now I see that same look of horror
In her eyes
But this time there will be no waking.

No relief will follow,
Just the silence.
Just overwhelming, deafening, numbing silence
Silence of the

For what do you say?
What do you say to her,
The only survivor of this monster’s annihilation
Which has claimed first her father
Then her mother

Leaving her alone in the world
With just her little brother
Only a child
And now she has been told
That he, too,
Will soon go
What do you say?

What do you say as she stares into the bleak, lonely, fearful hole that is her future?

Do you tell her that it will be okay
Although you both acknowledge your impotence
To bring life back where only emptiness now resides?

Do you speak to her of politics
Of the government’s impending plans to roll out the life-saving drugs that might save the only person she has left
If only he can miraculously survive the next year or two that it will take to get past the blustering bureaucratic bullshit
Do you give her this false hope?
Even as the words leave your mouth, they sound hollow and false –
And you both know it
And you hate yourself for it

What do you say?
Do you speak to her of life after death
Hearing at once her unspoken words:
That that is the only life which she wishes to know
For this life has no life left for her

So do you hastily follow this blunder
By encouraging her to hold on?

Hold on to what?
Hold on for what?
When all that she has held on to
Has been snatched from her
Cruelly, terminally, with no hope of appeal.

What do you say to someone like this?
That she is not alone?
That there are a million others just like her
Living through their own individual versions of hell?
Knowing that this is meaningless and trite, for
A million hells will not put out the fire in hers.

No, there is nothing to say to her
But under the silence I am screaming:
Wake up!

Wake up,
Young people
Who seek the heady rush of instant pleasure
Arrogantly convicted of your immortality
Despite the million signs that say it isn’t so.

Wake up,
Communities and institutions
Who bury your heads in the sand
Desperately seeking oblivion
Oblivion that will not shield you when your time comes.

Wake up,
Parents and educators
Who refuse to speak to the young
Still believing that ignorance
And life
Are compatible.

Wake up, bureaucrats
From the easy slumber of your imported leather couches
As you debate and dilly-dally and doze over the figures, the logistics, the technicalities
Of saving lives.

Wake up,
All you who seek refuge
In denial
In inaction
In indifference
Hear the screaming silence of the millions for whom there is no waking.
This monster has a name: AIDS.
No one is safe.
Wake up to the living nightmare.

But now I sit with my young friend
I hold her hand
I cry with her
There is nothing I can say
No hope I can offer
As the pain washes over us
The horror stretches out way over the horizon
And we sit here in the screaming silence
Of the impotent.

(This poem is inspired by a true story and is, in its own small way, an appeal to the world)



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(Serah Katusia)Tussi | Jan 6th, 2005
its so so touching to read this poem, I do write also but this poem feels like a heart of a child talking to you, alone and helpless, what would you say? its good work, poetry from the heart

needs no further comment
Rare breed | Jan 9th, 2005
I add my voice to yours... WAke Up world, WAke UP!!

Paul De La Merced | Jan 18th, 2005
great poem! awe inspiring...

You write from the heart.
Tamika R Francis | Jan 26th, 2005

You re a great writer...
Afeez Adeyemi Adisa | Jan 31st, 2005
Your poem is deeply touching and tears started dropping from my eyes. Am speechless for now and I add my voice to yours...

sooo inspiring!!!!!!
Joël Kalpram | Apr 7th, 2005
ohhhhhhhh wow i deadly love this story, its such an inspiring story. very touching with a very skillful person writting this poem. i did cry............ love to help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! still love you

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