Philipsburg – Celebrated each year on March 21, 2021, is one of our society’s most beloved forms of art and cultural expression, Poetry. Poetry brings us together on various continents and is a suitable form of expression for every walk of life. Our very own local poets depict our pain, struggles, triumphs and joys and express the diversity of culture within our community through their poignant words.
This day is observed in respect and celebration of poetry by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The day aims to promote reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry. I also see it as a celebration of all the emotions and joy that poetry can evoke in the reader or listener which ranges from laughter to tears.
Celebrating the occasion of World Poetry Day, I am reminded of poems from women all around the world, of which I would like to share these encouraging words from two poets laureate.
“We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Amanda Gorman, 2021
“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates.” – Dr. Maya Angelou
We have also seen many exquisite examples of poetry right here on the island that best describes our sweet St. Maarten. I honor local poets such as Debbie Jack, Esther Bradshaw Gumbs, Charles Barromeo Hodge, Magueda Jackson, Sjorensly Valies, Lucinda Audain and Tamara Groeneveldt just to name a few among many others.
I also honor the works of acclaimed author, publisher and local poet Lasana M Sekou in this piece “Great Salt Pond Speaks”:
“I am the mudbug reservoir of your labor.
In me, you came to speak to each other of pain,
of love, of freedom, of union;
from the dreams to build as men and women
to the games of children
floating over my glass calm face on flats.”
In celebration of World Poetry Day, Prime Minister Jacobs states, “Poetry gives a voice to us all to express our innermost thoughts, desires and ideas as well as allows us to process emotions. I encourage all those with an artist spirit to use every opportunity to express themselves through this art form.”
On behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, Happy World Poetry Day!