Remembering Easter Island

Feb 9, 2013 by

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Three years ago, I went to Easter Island, and it changed my life. Going to this place gave me the energy and inspiration I needed to get through a tough 2 years of schooling in order to get to where I am now. If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you will know that Easter Island is a very special place to me, and I’ve done a lot of thinking about why that is. I will let those reasons remain more or less private for now, and instead I will share a poem I wrote shortly after I got home from South America in 2010. I never shared it publicly until a couple of weeks ago during a coffee house we held at school as a fundraiser for the Lions Club. Now I think I’m ready to share the poem here.

The last time I shared a poem publicly was in 2006 when I did a creative writing class at university. At the end of term, we all had to share something we’d been working on at our own open-mic type of night. Sharing a poem in front of 20 people who were also exposing their souls was one thing (not to mention my poem was about road kill). Sharing a poem about a very personal and life changing experience at the coffee house was something else altogether. And only a couple hours before I was to read my poem did I learn that I would be reading in front of over 100 people.

Here it is…

To You Who Are Rapa Nui

Days later
Still, with blisters stained
by your dirt—
And feet, with your memory
Lasting upon them—

Days later
I see the dirt and feel that last direct connection and
The pull of
Having departed from
Rapa Nui, where I went

To see history carved from Earth
Not
To fall in love
To trust people
To love people
Again

I wasn’t expecting to
Feel such a rush of ocean air
Stop my breath

And it stopped again
When I was hungry
And instead of a bargain
The pineapple was free
And he said
One day you will help
Someone else who is in need

Thus
This gift of pineapple, sweet
Fed my soul, fed my body
With truth and trust
and ocean and island

And I floated on a dream
Holding down nausea in a boat as another spoke
And his words, his voice
Made me smile
That father, mother, brother
-Family-
Come before wealth
And he gave me his jacket
To use as a pillow and
I listened as he said that life is
To enjoy to scream to make music
To make love

The words stay, so that now I ache
And pull and draw
Days later,

Rapa Nui, to return to
The doorstep where
The peace of the island
And soft brown skin
Was in my arms
Closely tightly
And we were
Stained with sun
And I was
Stained with light
Dust
Coming from my pores
My eyes
As tears
Brown
Stained with the souls of Rapa Nui—
Of those who held my hand
Under ocean
Under earth
In darkness
In friendship
In trust

Who showed me and
Still show me
Days later
Though I’m gone

That people are good and
That people can love and
That giving does not deplete
But reciprocally recharges
Mutually and exponentially
Between friends
Between family
Between strangers
Like me

Us.

And the growth of stains remains
Beyond my skin, my pores, my toes
It’s my soul that’s marked
And I find
I’m stained
With Rapa Nui
I’m stained
With your dust, your dirt
Your ocean
Your mist
With the tides that pull the water
to you.
I’m stained with
A wink
Plucked from the string of a guitar
And your music

All these days later
I’m stained with
The lingering touch of

People who love
Who dance and
Sing

Sing
And love

And live

In a place
ready for souls
Yet unstained

 

Have you been to a place that has made you feel like Easter Island made me feel?

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24 Comments

  1. My goodness that’s gorgeous! Easter Island changed me as well. I will forever and ever remember that trip! I want to go back this time with my husband.

  2. Definitely. That’s a lovely piece and I know it’ll stay with me all day. Thnx

    • Colleen

      Thank you! I would love to hear about the place that you fell in love with…

  3. Raphael (@setlove1last)

    🙂 nothing to say, just to feel… beautiful…

  4. Beautiful poem Colleen and that’s a beautiful introduction to it. Never been to Easter Island, but I guess it’s time to think of my next travel destination 🙂

  5. Beautiful writing, Colleen. We spent some days there many years back. It certainly is a special place.

  6. Great poem! I’m snapping my fingers. 😉
    I feel similarly about Bermuda. I feel such a connection to that island.
    Love this poem.

    • Colleen

      Thanks Dana… I would love to hear about Bermuda. Perhaps it is on your site? I will snoop around. x

  7. Emy

    I love your poem. It’s so beautiful.
    And I absolutely want to go to Easter Island. It’s in my top10 list of places I want to go to !

    • Colleen

      Thanks Emy! Let me know if/when you go! It’s definitely worth it. I may just have to join you…

  8. Beautiful words Colleen! I love how you used the word “stained”. So many places can truly stain us in a good way.

    • Colleen

      Thanks a lot Suzy. I was really nervous publishing this poem, and I’m glad it’s being received so well.

  9. Nice poem. But if you upload this poem with your voice then it can be awesome. Everyone love those things which comes from heart. Thanks for writing.

    • Colleen

      Hi Peter, thanks for your comment! This is all my work, all my words… I know what you mean. 🙂

  10. Easter Island is my favorite ‘exotic’ destination – I loved every minute I spent there in 2012.

  11. Terry

    I spent a year at Easter Island back in 1972. I lived with the natives, I have many memories that I will never forget. I was at many parties with them, I fished with them, I explored the caves and found many unfinished statues. The natives shared many stories of what the purpose of the statues mean to them. I brought back quite a few items that they carved for me. I have one item in particular that I find to be extremely rare. I am having it researched to determine its value. I could go on forever about by experience but I must stop for now. Terry..

    • Colleen

      Hi Terry – I’m so happy to hear from you, from someone else who found a special place named Easter Island. I’m impressed with how you managed to connect with the people. The rapanui people are just wonderful, aren’t they? I am going to email you – hopefully we can keep in touch on all things Easter Island!

  12. I am so glad that I stumbled across your website!! This is amazing. I have dreamed of going to Easter Island for so long. I am a university student and this year I will be spending my year abroad in Mexico, I can’t put into words how excited I am – and your blogs have just made me want to explode!! Thank you so much for sharing your stories, I hope my journeys will be as fantastic and eye opening as yours have been. Easter Island is definitely on my list of places to visit during my year abroad!

    • Colleen

      Sophia, that’s fantastic news! I am elated to hear how excited you are about my blog. I hope you keep in touch! Will you be blogging about your own trip? I studied for 4 months in Mexico as well, in Guadalajara. Where will be? Let me know if you need any tips or help. If you want to go to Easter Island, it can be expensive so make sure you plan ahead! All the best for your year abroad. x

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