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Boy with Umbrella


“Not only have people been forced to flee...they are now facing new challenges in the camps for displaced people.” MSF 2008 website posting.


The stutter of gunfire and vibrato of overhead drones

as his family gathered up their few clothes and sandals

to track along eroded trails and gutted roads

of their valleys, past shattered towns

littered with rounds of spent cartridges

charred hulks of cars, ruined homes and shops.


He stands on a worn path. On one side the tents

are like foam washed up on the sands of this plateau,

are tethered by a cross-stitch of jute.

On the other, despite the invasion of heat and flies

in a makeshift hospital, doctors

knot sutures, that zigzag, truss trauma wounds.


An umbrella, striped in rainbow colours, shadows

blisters on his face and wiry russet hair,

but cannot eclipse his impish grin.

I raise my camera to shoot. He runs away.

The umbrella leaps into the air, descends,

spins, a top orbiting on its axis across the dust.


By: Blaine Marchand, Award winning poet, author and program manager. ‘Boy with Umbrella’ is from his 2015 book: My Head, Filled With Pakistan, based on his international development experience in Pakistan.

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