“A City’s Death by Fire” by Derek Walcott

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Rae Anthony

“A City’s Death by Fire” by Derek Walcott.

I can vividly remember performing this poem with my peers at my alma mater. Our uniforms were disheveled, our faces were painted and our hearts were filled with passion.

“After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky, I wrote the tale by tallow of a city’s death by fire. Under a candle’s eye that smoked in tears, I wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.”

We performed this poem like our very lives depended on it, and as I recite this at 26 years, it took me back to that day on the hot pavement at Babonneau Secondary School.

2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon; November 21, 2019.

My startled colleague came to me with news that brought me to tears. There was a fire in Castries. I abandoned an article that I was working on for hours and raced to the window. There it was: an insatiable fire, eating at the walls of a building.

Then I remembered that siren earlier… my prayer when I heard the sound that I’d become accustomed to.

Later, I’d hear an ear-piercing scream at a funeral parlour nearby that sent chills right through the very core of me. I instantly remembered Derek Walcott’s famous poem. I peered through the window… the family was wearing red; blood red.

Sadness crept inside me and I started writing.

A building was destroyed, employees were out of a job, a business owner had lost everything he/she had worked so hard for; hearts pounded harder than ever and I simply prayed to my Savior.

Trials will come in life and it will test your faith in every way. Keep your feet planted on the ground and trust God through it all. These trials are like boulders and they will even threaten to take your life; stand strong and trust in God. When the tears fall like rain and your heart just can’t take any more pain… stand strong and trust in God.

God will take you on the other side even when you don’t see a way out.

Continue to remember the persons affected by the fire (and others) in prayer. Also remember to help others whenever you can.

Take care guys.

Sincerely, always,

Rae A.

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