My first poem

Glinting Machetes

I have wanted to write a poem all week, ever since Scott shared his “Bar Hopping” poem with us.  Then, Dave started writing some great poems, and now I REALLY want to write one.  So, I have been trying to decide what to write about – there are so many possibilities.

Shhh…something is wrong outside

An ominous huddled mass stands 10 feet from my window

The muffled moon casts a smoky glow

Something glints over a shoulder

Harsh whispers emanate an eerie evil.

Terror grows vines over my mind.

Thank God my sisters are asleep.

I creep into my parents’ room.

Thick darkness suffocates my terrified soul.

We fall to our knees and pray.

Wrapped in the womb of our dark house,

The worst is not knowing when it’s our turn.

The nightmare is not knowing what is happening on the outside.

But this is a distorted womb whose cords are cut off from the outside world

Leaving its inhabitants to wait and see what will happen.

Yet, the womb envelopes and protects us,

While evil wreaks havoc on the outside.

The cut cords have made us invisible.

Invisibility is safe tonight.

An unseen power is at work.

When it’s all over, we see the invisible hand

Was blinding the eyes of evil,

Allowing the darkness to only permeate so far

Because light exposes the darkness,

Shh…everything is under control now.

This is an event that happened around 1989 or 1990 while I was in Kenya.  We were living in a communal missions base on the outskirts of Nairobi, right next to a large coffee plantation.  Throughout our time there, we would read stories in the news about cruel murders happening on a regular basis.  One night, a large gang of thieves, carrying “pangas” (or machetes) and wooden clubs, attacked our missions base.  I woke up to my mom leaning over my bed, which was right next to the window facing the ladies’ quarters, peeking through the curtains.  I could feel her fear.  At first, we thought one of the ladies, who was pregnant, was ready to give birth.  However, seeing a group of Kenyan men, standing around with machetes and clubs, we knew something was wrong.  We found out that they’d cut our phone, power, and alarm lines.  So, I followed my mom into her pitch black room, where I knelt and prayed and prayed.  Our compound had several sections:  a ladies quarters, our 2-bedroom house, couples’ rooms, the office, and the kitchen and dining area within one part of the compound.  In another part, near the forest, we had pitched a large tent for a missions team that was visiting.  That night, only one young lady was in, the rest having gone on a missions trip.  She woke up to a knife pressed against her mouth, demanding to know where the men were.  She led them to another part of the compound, where the men were sleeping.  The thieves beat the men with clubs, took their passports, any foreign currency they could find, and their shoes.

In the ladies’ quarters, the thieves gripped one Korean lady’s shoulders and forced her to lead them towards the office, where they hoped to find some money.  She had to force her door shut to get dressed, as they beat down her door.  Another lady was almost raped.  The Korean lady led them to the office, but on the way, they broke into the guest room beside the office, where an elderly lady was sleeping.  One of thugs crashed through her window, onto her bed, from where she sprung up, grabbed a pitcher of water and threw it at his face.  The thug, lunged towards the opposite window and crashed out of it, through the glass.  However, the lady was not hurt.

The outcome of all this was astounding.  The thugs riffled through the office but didn’t take anything valuable, including the computers, and office equipment.  In the ladies’ quarters, there was a small, metal moneybox in clear view of the thugs.  They skipped over it – didn’t even touch it.  None of the couples’ houses were touched, nor were any homes with families, including ours.  In fact, my parents were at a conference several hours away and had considered staying at the conference site that night, but decided to come home instead.  Then, there was a Kenyan couple who almost came to check on my sisters and I that night but, for some reason, felt that they shouldn’t come down to the rest of the compound.  We knew that God had protected us.


3 Responses to “My first poem”

  1. elizabethuiwp Says:

    Powerful piece. A life story worth sharing. God is an all amazing power. I am so glad you shared this story. We always think that our lives are going down hill or bad and then someone else shares what they gave been through. It put life in perspective. Don’t our students do the same for us? We don’t always realize what they have lived through the past 24 hours. They can share through writing and get some of the pressure off. We can read and understand and help them along the way.
    I am so glad that you were safe that night as well as the others in the compound. I am sorry for the violence that you had to witness. I am truly sorry. May God continue to use you to teach and be open to new possibilities in your life. I can’t wait for your presentation today. Bless you!

  2. You write in your introduction that you don’t know which story to tell; I say tell them all, as many as you want. This is a powerful piece. It evokes the terror of the night. Nice start!

  3. You paint a fantastic tail of evil intertwined with fright while giving peace and security in the unseen force.

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