Ayiti’s Storm / by Shanelle Gabriel

The earth seized

It tarnished its pearl

A vast nation a "gens de couleur"

Varied shades of brown

Buried in soot, covered in gray

This is their home

So home is where they’ll stay

Makeshift hospital equipment

Tarps become tents

Stealing shelter from barren trees

Paying Mother Nature rent

Entire lives amounted to piles of rubble

Schools, churches, and hospitals have crumbled

Death tolls double

Wandering the streets

Family trees shaken

Missing fruit

Lost children

Wandering parents

Grandparents uprooted

Concrete ashes worn as burial suits

The stench of sorrow

Mixed with the heat of the day

Makes it hard to breathe

This is a time of tumult

A time of storm

It seems in tragedy…


There is a new reason to sing

I hear Creole voices ring

Wounded feet, broken hearts still dancing


Through all the hurt

You can still hear them praising

Feel the sun within them; smiling

While the world they once knew seems

To have begun decaying

Over the crying you still hear praying


Within devastation and depression

We learn a new lesson

One of appreciation

Devotion to a nation seemingly forgotten

When bad things happen

Folk “Ask where is God?”

Peering into a young girl’s smile

Her eyes whisper:

"He is in us"

In the donated cogs screws and plaster

God is in every single bottle of water

Every Band-Aid

Every touch of a stranger that reminds an orphan of their mother

Love is in every diri grain

To show the God within us should be our daily aim

Our call to a life of service to others is made plain

Our faith in human kindness has the opportunity to be regained

Ayiti is hurting

And at this point in time

It’s okay

Because pain lets us know that something is broken

This amazing country has long been in need of fixing

Many bellies were empty long before the dry earth began shaking

A history so rich

Filled with

Periods of hurt and healing

The first Black nation

To gain independence

Fought for their indelible right to be free

Theirs is the blood of Royalty

And it runs deeper than the Atlantic Ocean

A jewel of the Caribbean Sea

Our prosperity means it’s our responsibility

To alleviate their situation

To comfort them in this time of grief

Storm winds cause turmoil that lead to the calm

Haiti can

Haiti wiil go on

My brothers and sisters are waiting

With open hearts and palms

For us to show the compassion we were given

This is a season of growing



Not forgetting that this is a republic of resilience


Resistance against anything against its best interest

Who's fought off control from countries distant

Including rule from the one we stand in at present

They’ve been down-trodden

It’s our turn to do the uplifting

Let’s join together to make Ayiti even better

Than it was before

"L'Union Fait La Force"

"Unity Creates Strength"

Strength to overcome the storm



Written for the Renewal 4 Haiti Espwa (Hope) Benefit Concert on May 15, 2010. Renewal 4 Haiti is working to rebuild Hôpital Camejo in Léogâne, Haiti. Attendees & performers included  US Senator Michael Bennett, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, US Ambassador to Haiti Raymond Joseph, accomplished dancer Cleo Parker Robinson, as well as Denver CBS4 and NBC9 News' Gloria Neal & Bazi Kanani.