Village / kendel hippolyte

The village that the minivan was travelling to was vanishing
as we drove. Somewhere in ourselves we knew that.
It might have even been the reason finally for the driver speeding.
.
Along the way, roadwork gangs worked in the punishing
heat and dust and noise and smell of progress toward what-
ever it was that progress was supposed to be leading
.
us toward—not the village, which, as it grew larger, was diminishing.
The dust! It was phantasmagorical, how it could suddenly blot
bits of the landscape out, trees wavering briefly and receding
.
into a grey haze of vehicles-men-vegetation merged in an undistinguishing
slow-motion flurry. As we drove into it, we drew the windows shut
as though the dust and haze were all outside us. The driver revved, exceeding—
.
if there was one—our limit. And as we hurried through that spirit-famishing
landscape, i was wondering: What drove him? Drove us? And what
precisely in the village, beyond our normal businesses, were we really needing?
.
Because we did not find it. Whatever drove us was also banishing
what we were driven to. When we arrived, in truth, the village was not
there. Perhaps the arterial road we’d followed was misleading.
.
The village that the minivan was travelling to was vanishing
as we drove to somewhere in our selves. We knew. And that
might have been why we drove there with a sense of desperation, pleading.

•••

Kendel Hippolyte, a playwright, actor, director and cultural activist, received a James Michener Fellowship to study poetry, an OAS scholarship to study theatre, twice won the Literature prize in St. Lucia’s Minvielle & Chastanet Fine Arts Awards, and was given the St. Lucia Medal of Merit (Gold) in 2000.

One comment

  1. Reply

    Kendel’s voice I know well. He is brilliant and passionate. He is consistent. This poem is a fine example of this St. Lucian poet in his finest form. This poem is magical as many of his are. I am moved and transformed as any sensitive reader is bound to be.

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