Once a year, my local bookstore, Village Books provides a writing challenge. This year I was to write something relating to the theme Interconnectedness. Yes, it’s a mouthful. But in the end, we and everything on this planet from the solar system right down to the food chain is connected. I knew immediately what I wanted to submit. In my memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos, I wrote in Part II, the chapter entitled “Country Birth,” there was a connectedness that I felt witnessing this most incredible birth. I decided to convert a portion of that chapter into a poem. And Voila, it was selected as one of many entries in this anthology, now my 9th publication.
There was so much in that chapter, but I wanted to focus on connection and it worked beautifully in this poetic conversion. Here is an except of my newly published poem, “Survival.“
In a small, remote village in upcountry Liberia, eight women gathered in a smoky dark round hut for one purpose, to facilitate a woman’s childbirth. Fanta, a woman in labor, lay on the earthen floor. A wood fire burned, the only illumination in the hut. Five indigenous midwives presided, no formal training, only years of experience. Honored to witness this natural miracle, as a Peace Corps volunteer, I was to observe and learn, not interfere. At age twenty, with a practical nursing license, I wasn’t sure what I’d learn. (.......Several stanzas later a baby boy is born.) Two weeks after the danger passed, Fanta and Paul John thrived. Fanta’s delivery taught me many things. But most of all, the women met their shared goal – survival of mother and baby. Eight women gathered with diversity of tribe, language, and religion. joined as one, they chose collaboration and cooperation over domination and self-righteousness. Their collective power – support, know-how, and faith – achieved a good outcome. Interconnectedness made them stronger, confident and successful. As the ninth woman, I, too, played a role. From another race, another language, and another culture, I reflected upon their important example to the world. Can we eliminate our prejudice and intolerance to learn from those courageous women? Can we take the knowledge and strengths we each possess to work together, to interconnect to achieve a shared goal – our survival? Innterconnectedness can be purchased at Village Books in Bellingham, WA by clicking the highlighted link. You will be able to read the rest of my poem as well as other wonderful short stories and poems from other authors. Also check out my memoir at https://susangreisen.com/