My Poem, “Haiti – The Forgotten Dying Land,” Now Part Of The Anthology, “Inner Eye”

Photography by Joni Caggiano on one of her many mission trips to Haiti with the Richard Hotes Foundation


My Dear Friends,

I’m very excited to announce that I’m going to be included along with other fellow writers in the anthology “Inner Eye”!  My poem, “Haiti – The Forgotten Dying Land” will be part of this printed publication, available now for purchase at Poet’s Choice (please scroll down the Home page to see the book). Thank you, Poets Choice Team, for this exciting opportunity!

Haiti – The Forgotten Dying Land

scant trees hold precious life in soil
downpours run without mercy
flushing minerals into low lands
charcoal created from the sparse bush
tiny fingers burn on hot boiling pot
of small green leaves collected
overfished waters leave nets lying empty
silent goat bones weave like shadows
stomachs ache like a black tooth decaying
blank stares of a slave child with a swollen belly
chained underneath the iron bed frame
outline of a starving dog, teats swinging,
maggots feasting on her back
the rainy season is all but a bad memory
rats no longer come to scuttle
they, too, seek refuge from the thunderous flooding
like lids on bottles, they lay on
sleeping children in mud huts who don’t dream
sunset, sunrise the disparity of years,
like a train on tracks that will never end
still dark, families start their long walk
to the clinic now with hope
pursuing treatment for prickling shingles,
eyes like darkened windows, from infections and
worms that come in through
bare feet leaching weak lives 
sores, rashes, and unknown diseases
from bathing in filthy brackish water fetching pain
darkness approaches as many are 
now turned away
nurses spent, yet we are voyeurs on vacation
strolling along to our comfy structure,
yet I am thankful for the dark
stars filling the silent skies like
tiny reminders of the lost –
as deforestation shows it’s fangs
thinking of how to stop thinking
while fearing the cause is lost
memories of this mission etched in brain cells
guilty of the taste of fried plantains
lingering from our breakfast
never have I seen such strength, courage,
and beauty in human spirits
grateful for the clean cot, I collapse
air conditioning cooling red skin from the days’ heat
lights finally out, and I am thankful
the mindless chatter has stopped
red tears float my cot through luxuries access
into the trivial cooling of baked land 
where blue tears of hope shine now
in the light of the full moon as her eyes
see and hear the cries of this country
my sorrow shreds my stirring heart
how do I leave and
how can they stay,
doubting I will ever rest again
I weep hopeful petals as I pray

This poem is dedicated to my three grandchildren, Jerry, Richard and Kervenson, who were rescued in Haiti from slavery and starvation.  They now live with my daughter, Carolyn, and her partner, Vito, and are thriving in the United States.  I love them so much and they are why this piece is so special to me.

Love each of you,


91 thoughts on “My Poem, “Haiti – The Forgotten Dying Land,” Now Part Of The Anthology, “Inner Eye”

    1. Oh Cassa thank you so much for reading and your kind comment. The theme of this anthology was a very visceral kind of imagery and this had to be the one. The Haitian people have really suffered. Thanks again always for your wonderful support Cassa it means a lot to me. Sending you fresh baked blueberry muffins via my little fairies. They will want to stay but please send them home. Love you 🤗💕❤️🧚🏻🧚‍♀️🧚🏻🧚‍♀️ Joni

  1. Congratulations Jonikins! Your work continues to be recognized and appreciated for the depth of emotion and imaginative language that you wield with what seems like so little effort. You should be extremely proud of both this publication and those grandchildren! Kudos, my friend!

    1. Oh Brad this really touches my heart. Your kind words are tender magic to my ears. You are always so kind to me, thank you and know much it touches my heart. I am so proud of my precious grandchildren and honored to be part of this publication. Love you Joni

  2. Wow Joni, what a deeply touching and moving poem. Amazingly beautiful poetry. Each word is deeply felt. Wonderfully written. 😊🌹

    1. Thank you so very much for your gracious words. I am so glad you felt the poem and found it touching. It is hard to go to Haiti and not be completely torn up inside. It is one of the poorest Countries in the world. Sending lots of love. ❤️💕🤗

      1. Aww your welcome…. Be proud of yourself and your family dear Joni. Your amazing ❤️

    1. Yes thank you I am. Thank you for your lovely words they are so appreciated Allan. Haiti is a forgotten land where so much money was collected but many of the big NGOs don’t give the money they collect. The NGO I mentioned does not accept any donations of any kind. It is totally funded by the CEO. It is a very sad place but there are good people that are helping and doing what they can. Have an amazing weekend my friend and thanks again. Love ❤️ Joni

    1. Thank you kind Tiffany for your reading and writing such a sweet comment. I always appreciate hearing from you. I feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends who are also supportive. Have a wonderful weekend. Sending lots of love your way. Joni ❤️💕🤗😘

  3. I am glad they saved three children. Many forgotten places today. Dear Joni, your words and thoughts are needed to remind us. I saw starvation in Africa. We try to help our medico, water and food team. Was a impossible task. Good afternoon from Michigan.

    1. Oh thank you my very dear friend, John. I bet you saw some horrors but you were there helping and that is what matters. Thank you for you sweet words and thoughts my dear friend. Love you Joni 🙏💕🤗❤️

      1. That is wonderful wisdom my friend. You are a
        Kind soul I can sense that you are, especially through your written words. Love you John

      1. So true dear John. I know you care about others it shows in your work. That is the beauty in you among other things. Love ❤️ you Joni 🤗😘

  4. I am so sorry that it seems I haven’t visited your blog before. I find my time runs out so quickly, and often I get to my browser and then don’t recall why I’m there. I know it is a result of certain medicines. I wish there was a home for the Bewildered. Would you let me know of any other anthologies for which you hear a call out ? Hugs, C xx

    1. Oh please don’t feel that way Chrisssie. I het easily overwhelmed as well especially with Instagram. I still can’t figure out much on that platform. If you are looking for platforms where you can enter your work for publication and anthologies I would start looking at Also I love Spillwords and I write Her and all the places I submit to. If you look at my submission page try some of the places I mention they will be there. I thing most only do one anthology a year but the place mentioned here does many. Good luck to you my friend. I hope this helps. If I see anything new I will try and remember to let you know. Sending you love and hugs. 💕❤️🤗🙏

  5. You paint a haunting portrait of a forgotten land, Joni. Sending much love your way. You have my heartfelt thanks for your friendship, love, and prayers. It is when our loved ones are in need or in peril that we feel most helpless. But “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17: 17). <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you for reading as always dearest Anna. I am sure when you were working as an attorney helping others you saw some real injustice. I am sure you payed a great emotional cost for your time given with love to help many. I know Go has you in his tender arms right now and is caring you and Your family through this hard time. We are praying for your family my friend and for you. I believe in miracles and healing. I have seen too many miracles to not believe they happen everyday. I too, am very grateful for your friendship and love. I love the Bible verse and I do love you sweet Anna. Have a blessed Sabbath. Love ❤️ J

    1. That is so sweet I am moved by your kind and gracious words although I don’t see you as some one complacent at all based on your wise posts. Still you are welcome. It sounds so harsh but I saw these horrific things on a medical mission and other missions as well. Thank you my friend for your thoughtful words. Sending love ❤️ and hugs 🤗 always. ❤️🤗💕🥰Joni

      1. I appreciate what you have done Joni. Not only the actions, but the follow up words to make sure we know. So that we see. ❤️❤️

      2. Having to apologize a lot tonight as I feel terrible when I get comments I don’t see. Please forgive the late response. Thank you so much dear friend for your very thoughtful comment. I was so truly blessed by the Haitian people who are warm, wonderful and talented. They are so grateful for everything. My heart was so touched by each and every person I met. Thank you Colleen really. Love you Joni

      3. No apologies needed! I have been using WP long enough to know that ‘we’ really have no control over the comments. They appear and disappear at WP’s will. 😉 And thank you, for all of your gracious heart. ❤️

      4. Thank you I felt terrible but honestly I think you are right my friend. My like button only works about half the time. There is nothing I can do but using chrome is suppose to help. My friends get very frustrated by this. Other people have no problem. Stuff ends up in spam from people I have been blogging with for ever. I know they have a tremendous amount of data and servers. Thank you for understanding. Your friendship means a lot. Love ❤️ Joni

      5. I have one blogger friend who I have been commenting with for years, one of my longest blog friends. I can no longer comment on his posts. He and I have both tried everything we can think of. It is very frustrating.

        You are very welcome. ❤️

      6. That is very sad what is happening? I would be so upset if I lost touch with my friends who I blog with all the time. They don’t feel virtual to me. I am truly sorry about you and your friend. Love you 🤗❤️Joni

  6. Oh, Joni. This is shattering and astounding on so many levels all the while being beautiful as well. To see such harshness and life on its absolute knees through Your poet eyes is incredible. Even Your photo, which I stared at a long while before reading Your words, is beyond. You, Your family and Your sweet grand children are true Angels walking among us. My words are so tiny compared to all I’m feeling right now. Thank You. I Love You. AND: Congratulations!!! I will joyfully buy this book!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    1. I am so glad this piece touched you Kind Katy. It is very hard to see these sites. I wore large sunglasses so the children couldn’t see me cry. After a while I was able to control myself. It takes a few missions but you never get it out of your mind. I only have one poem in this anthology. The poetry chosen was suppose to be raw and visceral visuals so they may be difficult to read like mine. I was grateful to be included. Love ❤️ you Katy and thank you for all your extremely kind words. Love Joni 🤗❤️💕🐉🐉🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️

      1. I can’t even imagine. I saw some serious poverty walking around India….but what You witnessed goes far beyond that. Sigh. I Love You as well and reading You is a true pleasure. ❤️❤️❤️

      2. Thank you Katy. I can’t imagine seeing the poverty in India. It must have been something. I don’t think I would have the courage to travel to India. About that was a great adventure. Love you Kind Katy. 💕🤗❤️

      3. Ah! You’d likely LOVE India. My favorite thing about it was it was EVERY colour of life, in Your face, all the time! It’s beyond beautiful. And there is such serious Grace in the people. It’s wild. And sooooo alive. And yes….the poverty was intense here and there but so was the wealth. They celebrate God and Life continually. It’s just amazing!!! I don’t know that I’d have the courage to travel to Haiti and do what You did. I absolutely bow to You! And love You too!!! 💖💖💖

      4. Kind Katy you make India sounds so wonderful. I picture streets lined with spices of all colors and aromas. I have known many Indian people and found them to be extremely gracious and hospitable. Over the years I have had many Indian friends, they treat everyone as family. I think some of the poorest people in the world are also the most gracious and thankful. So I can understand what you are talking about. Sounds like you were treated very kindly and that you had a wonderful experience. You would definitely have the courage to go to Haiti. Thank you for your kind words about my poetry. I have been blocked lately, don’t tell the fairies they will be writing a song and sending it out over the airways about how I can’t write anymore. They can be cantankerous, but I love them anyway. Have a beautiful day my friend. Love you Katy, Joni

      5. Ah…..I go through that as well, my friend. I’m having a very difficult time painting right now. We’ll pass through it though and be painting and writing again in no time. Just part of the cycle, I think!!! I hope You have a wonderful day as well!!! Love You too! 💕💕💕

      6. I understand my friend. It isn’t easy to go through a dry period but as you said we will be inspired again. Sending hugs with love to you my friend. 💕🤗❤️😘

  7. Through your poem I can feel and see so much emotions. Such exquisite writing! Congratulations on being included with other fellow writers in the anthology “Inner Eye” This is well deserved <3

    1. Oh how very kind you are my friend. Thank you so much for reading and your gracious comment. It is really appreciated. Sending you lots of love my friend. Hope you have a great week. Love ❤️ Joni

    1. Oh thank you Stuart. I really appreciate your kindness. Yes, I was so pleased. Hope you are both well my friend and there are still not too many people in the forest. You have so many gorgeous photographs in your gallery Stuart. It helps to be able to travel. But even then some of your gorgeous photographs are in the forest. Love to you both. Joni

  8. Yes, travel can stimulate the imagination, Joni, and educate about people in other lands. But, as you say, I’m surrounded by beauty here. The photos of the forest have all been taken in an area with a 5 mile radius of our home, so travel isn’t essential to creativity. Mind you, I’ll be glad when this Covid crisis is over and we can visit friends and relatives again.

  9. Congratulations Joni! It’s a beautiful and haunting poem full of images, life and the reality of a country that has been neglected, maligned and raped throughout it’s history. A lovely tribute to a people that deserve our love and attention. I knew many Haitians when I lived in Miami. They’ve a large community in North Miami and I also worked with many Haitian officers on the force. Wonderful people that I always admired and respected and from whom I keep wonderful memories. Actually, one of the guys in my band (music) was Haitian. He played bass for us on our first record back in 1999…
    All the best Joni, your work is marvellous and smashing good I say!

    1. Oh how wonderful Francisco! Again, apologies just seeing this comment and I checked my pending comments just yesterday. Thank you for your extremely thoughtful words . I am glad you know many Haitian people they are a lovely and talented group of folks for which I fell in love with right away. I saw their beautiful spirits and their kindness towards one another as well. So great you have friends and played music with someone from that once beautiful Country. Talk about feeling blessed my trips there certainly did touch my heart. Thank you again for your gracious words my friend. Love and all the best to you both. Joni

  10. Joni, I am so proud of you. For your writing being included in something so special & for helping the people in Haiti sharing your hope & kindness. That feeds my soul & I am so thankful to call you my very dear friend. You are so inspiring. I will have to order myself the book!! Love you bunches! My fairies you sent to me are sitting on the bill of my baseball cap as I write this. They are cheering for you too!

    1. Oh the smile you just gifted me with that visual. Thank you so much for your kind words dear friend. However most of all I thank you for always believing in me and loving me just the way I am. 💕🤗❤️😘🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️

      1. I do believe in you, always have, always will. You are amazing. I ordered my book, so I am looking forward to reading it all, first page to last page. Be careful outside painting! I know you sometimes over do with your neck, so please limit yourself. I love you so I can boss you a little. xoxo

      2. So sweet of you to buy the book. I am all done. Love you sweetie and your one of the few people who could ever boss me around. So yes ma’am. Love you Janette 🤗❤️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️💕

  11. Honeybun, congratulations from the bottom of my heart. You deserve plenty of praise and of accolades. The poem is magnificent and the story behind is one of triumph.
    I am happy for you; as happy as a human can be. I look forward to reading your beautiful work in more anthologies and journals.
    Have a wonderful and blessed evening and a great week ahead.
    G (button)

    1. I am so glad that I checked my spam because here was a beautiful comment from you Button. Thank you so much for your tremendous and loving kindness. Thank you for your gracious words: ” I am happy for you; as a human can be.” What a truly lovely thing to say beautiful Button! Sending you so much love, hugs and blessings. Love you, honeybun

      1. Good evening honeybun, Yeah, WP spams me lately. It does not like me anymore 🙂

        Joni, you deserve every word I wrote. You work hard and you are extremely talented. Every time you get published you fill my heart with joy.
        Thank you for the love, hugs, and blessings. Right back to you.
        Have a magical evening hon.

      2. Oh thank you so much beautiful Button. I appreciate every kind word like a special gift. Thank you for always being so loving and supportive. I am feeling the magic. Thank you sweetie. Love honeybun 💕🤗❤️🎈🥰😘

      3. Have a beautiful night Button. Sending half moons and rainbows on an ankle bracelet and a shower of pearls. Love ❤️ you honeybun

  12. A marriage of such heartbreak and beauty in one work 💔❤️ God bless your grandchildren and your daughter and her partner, along with all those in Haiti who experience the devastation and poverty there daily. I’ve been there twice accompanying my mother on a cruise ship, and traveling there in that capacity, it truly does not give you any picture whatsoever of what is really happening to these people. 💔💔. May God protect them always, and all of us more fortunate help as much as we can. Your photo and your work are incredible.

    1. Oh thank you my dear friend. Thank you Jill for all your gracious support, love and supporting me in so many ways. You have such a large and compassionate heart and I am blessed to call you friend. Thank you for your kind words especially on the photograph as I admire your beautiful photography so much. Love you Jill 🤗❤️💕Joni

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