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(12 June 1939 / Middlesbrough (Yorkshire))

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Burkina Faso

What are you thinking,
As you proudly unwrap
Your green and red flag,
In minus twenty degrees?
Do you have black thoughts
About the northern whiteness
Around you? Or
Are you here at all?
Do your coat and scarf and boots
Seem strangely out of place
In the sun of Ouagadougou
Amid the cries of children
And weaver birds?
What are you thinking?
And why do I ask?

Submitted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Even on bitterly cold Ottawa mornings, an official for the Embassy of Burkina Faso would dress as warmly as he could & raise the flag for his homeland. The cultural contrasts could not have been more poignant & they challenge some assumptions about ourselves.

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