Darkness resonated beyond the coastline
Pulsating in waves releasing mournful
Rhythms as battered bodies set adrift
On the ocean, desperate and tattered.

Paradise is a shipwreck of eternity
With waves of survivors convulsing
Sugarcane blues into the sacristies
Of militarized vaults. We are cramped

In chaos. Debris of the past piled into
Ensembles where dreams are trapped
In the threshold of heavens, clasped
Hands plagued by buoyant assonance

Clapped until wrecked beneath the stars.
Hard-won happiness returned to darkness
As melancholy treacherously scuttled
Throughout the island in paroxysm waves.

Just at the seaside, generations of children
Moaned the ingested splinters from the
Santa-Maria and markets encrusted sugarcanes
That pressed the buoyancy of souls into pulp.


Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, translator, photographer, and academic. He is a faculty at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies. Sylvain has taught as a lecturer at Harvard, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Tufts University.  Additionally, Sylvain was also a lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is published in several anthologies, academic journals, books, magazines and reviews. He has been featured in: PBS NewsHour, NPR’s «Here and Now» and «The Story», he was also a contributing editor to the Boston Haitian Reporter. Sylvain’s academic essays are anthologized in several edited collections, including: “The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development,” Edited by Millery Polyné; “Politics and Power in Haiti,” Edited by Paul Sutton and Kate Quinn.  Sylvain graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Education as a Conant Fellow where he received his Ed.M; and also holds an MFA from Boston University where he was a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.