Canadian Critic

By Taylor Lowery (McGill)

Taylor 3The other students and I have a lot of time to chat here. I have found it interesting that many of us have expressed a similar weariness to the idea of returning to our privileged countries, our homes full of amenities, or our jobs serving bratty children with no idea of how much they really have. There is this almost unanimous discontent with our home culture, and a favoured appreciation for the community culture we find here. Although we can look around and see a lot of services that lack initiative/support, it’s hard for myself and the other students to feel anger towards the locals, we do not see them as being anything but gracious for having us here and sharing their time and resources. As Dr. Stonebanks says, nobody wants to be the one to be mean to an African, but at a certain point you need to engage in difficult conversations, ones that encourage locals to speak up, get angry, feel critical, feel passionate towards the development of their own home. What I can recognize for myself at least, is my current tendency to tack my feelings of disappointment onto the inadequacies of my own people.

I don’t want to find fault in the people of Malawi. I think who am I to have any judgment over how the people here conduct their business? About how they participate? The amount of feedback they give? Sure I think to myself it would be nice if the Malawian teachers we are working with would say “Hey Taylor, that idea you just proposed is rotten and here’s a better one;” I would sing out Hallelujiah! To date most of the ideas of us “Azungus” (white people) are only greeted with positivity. This is beginning to unnerve me but not to a point yet where I feel comfortable feeling critical. For now, all I can come up with are some criticisms for the ‘Developed’ areas. Here are some good ol’ fashion poems expressing my frustrations and observations with my own peers and society. These are the things I feel “comfortable” being critical of.

 

Comfort is a Privilege

 To couch yourself from the discomforts of life is a benefit enjoyed by few.

An equilibrium of body and space.

A soft touch, at a safe space.

Comfort is a privilege.

 

When God said let there be light, He forgot to mention the fuse might blow.

Some will be illuminated;

Feel the warmth of being considered individuals in a whole.

Comfort is a privilege.

 

Said the West, “I’m so hot, I am dying of thirst.”

Here the semantic slip ups run deep

When you’re surrounded by those whose reality you actually speak.

Man is comfort a privilege.

 

The time has come to shake the dust.

When the uncomforted ones speak this message at us:

Be quiet. Sometimes your words are better left unsaid.

Just sit. Because your height is already seen.

Please listen. Just listen to the voices around.

 

Your comfort should not matter here.

It is your turn off the couch.

****************************************

Space Fillers

Can’t stop won’t stop to just

S

I

T

Uncomfortable with a pause…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………………………….plans…………………………………………………………………………………schedule ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………plans……………………………………busy..……………………schedule………

(Unnerved with one silent moment in moments)

Must make NOISE, f ill    S   P   A   C   E

Those “umms” kill grace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ These are my people.

 

*****************************************

If the hills had eyes

 

If the hills had eyes, they would watch till the end.

If the trees had feet they would stay.

Or maybe they would run away from the sounds

of the chainsaws merrily at play.

 

If the stones had ears they would skip

the track where their ripple causes pain,

as the war blew apart the stones from their wall…

if only they had arms to rebuild it again.

 

If water had a heart is would beat for the sun

its passions adding up to a cloud.

Mix in some acid and hazy confusions

and the tears fall back down to the ground.

 

If man had the foresight to look at this Earth

through the eyes of those hills high above,

he might see that his ego has blinded the growth

of humanities worldwide love.

2 thoughts on “Canadian Critic

  1. Mark Lowery

    Hello my walking, talking raison d’etre,
    You slay me with your words. “If the hills had eyes” was “spotless” and left me gutted. I am hearing a very strong VOICE for change in the status quo. It would appear from the progressions in your writing that you are being transformed by this experience. What an interesting education and magnificent experience. Soldier on my verbal anarchist. Be strong and brave, but not harsh. Love your champion, Peace be with you, Daddeo.

    Reply
  2. Lori Scott Lowery

    Thought provoking with such truth. Wonderful that you and the other students have pursued a unique learning experience that many will never know

    Reply

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