Esperanza es Esencial

(a sestina)


The hollow stares of hungry children

along the rural dirt roads of Nicaragua

haunt us; we wonder how they will grow.

Family squatters on plantation farms;

laborers for landowners, not partners.

Who will help people aching for hope?


Corruption feeds the raw hopelessness;

political powers disregard needs of children.

Fathers must go find work, leaving partners.

Hurricanes and earthquakes rock Nicaragua.

Disillusionment fills the stomachs of poor farmers.

Can the rainy season inspire lush dreams to grow?


Restless longings of youth and age are growing

like howler monkeys hanging on vines, hopeful

in spite of elusive prospects that leave farmers

without funds to buy school shoes for their children.

Dignity and determination possessed by Nicaraguans

may yet transform desperation by a strong partnership.


They need land loans and encouraging partners

who will water dormant dreams to boldly grow.

See machete-wielding campesinos of Nicaragua

clear parcels of land and build better houses on hope.

Families together enrich soils of mountains and children,

planting red beans, coffee and fruit trees on their own farms.


Linked together, North American and Nica farmers

join hearts and hands in prayerful partnership;

envisioning a new future for bright-eyed children

and encouraging their greener dreams to grow.

Providing opportunities which renew hopefulness

by reaching out to our neighbors in Nicaragua.


Norteamericanos can learn much from Nicaraguans:

Value simple blessings and family-friendly farming

The practice of contentment fills one with hopefulness

Mutual respect breaks down barriers to partnership

Stepping beyond comfort zones makes faith grow

Real vision for future and education, will feed children.


Building hope-filled partnerships

between Nicaragua and Iowa farmers

offers growth opportunities for all God’s children!

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lynndiane
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 01:54:03

    Yes, this was a tough form for me…any pointers, Gay? Thanks for reading!


  2. Gay Reiser Cannon
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 21:01:06

    Sestinas are difficult. You stayed pretty true to the form to explicate an important message about our neighbors in Nicaragua.


  3. Ginny Brannan
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 03:37:22

    Great use of form. The sestina is a tough one that I have yet to try. On the topic of choice–the fortunate should bear the torch for the less fortunate. Such partnerships are necessary and important. After all, we are all God’s children.


  4. Mary
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 03:21:18

    I enjoyed this poem tremendously. Nice to hear of the co-operation between the Iowa farmers and the Nicaraguans. It is this kind of partnership that CAN benefit us all. I agree that North Americans can learn much…and learn to value the simple, but important, things of life!


  5. Bryan Ens
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 03:14:50

    this reminds me a lot of the stories that some of members of my church have shared about their experiences in Haiti…where the people have practically nothing, but spend their evenings singing and praising God…while we in North America who have practically everything we want…but grumble about the things we don’t have. Your poem is a wonderful story of hope.


  6. brian miller
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 02:56:20

    good for you…we as poets need to speak out for those that cant
    for the ways our world can work, across borders…where we help those
    in need…thanks for raising awareness and speaking out…


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