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Poem: "Lay First the Foundation" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Lay First the Foundation"
This poem is spillover from the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] thnidu and [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "humble pi(e)" square of my 3-2-15 card for the Pi(e) Bingo Fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"Lay First the Foundation"

Everyone talks about the superpowers
that make the news, but those
aren't always the ones making history.

In 1960, everyone saw the iconic picture
of Che Guevara mindblasting the crowd
with graphic memories to the contrary
after someone insisted that the explosion
of La Coubre had not been caused by
assaulting a person of mass destruction and
that the CIA certainly had nothing to do with it.

The struggle churches like Regina Mundi
made the news, but the people themselves
were no more than a sea of faces. Chanté Smit
used her empathy to soothe those who, like herself,
had lost so many loved ones to apartheid and riots
that it was like being hit by a train, managing to
get up again, only to be run over by a truck.

In the summer of 1989,
everybody watched as one man
stopped an entire column of tanks
with his mind and his courage.

Nobody noticed Zsofia Graner
feeding the protesters with pasta
throughout Hungary and Germany,
and when some people swore
that a stretch of the Berlin Wall
tore itself apart, others scoffed
because surely everyone would
have noticed a supervillain attack.

In 2013, Onion City experienced
its famous Freezing Fire as
Backdraft lit an empty warehouse
to protest abuse of its workers,
and Jackie Frost put it out
with a photogenic sheet of ice.

Brazil spawned another round
of demonstrations demanding
an upgrade of its public transportation;
Faron Oliveira blended right in with
the crowd of caras pintadas, and
nobody noticed that unlike his mother
Eleuteria who had participated in
the first protests back in 1992, he
didn't need any paint to splash
the nation's flag across his face.

Not every person with superpowers
wants to be famous; most are content
to be the little bush on the big mountain.
They understand that if you would have
greatness, you must lay first the foundation
of humility so that it will not go to your head.

The world is changed most, not by the privileged,
but by the poor and the modest folk who have
feasted on humble pie and survived the worst
that the world can throw at them, for they
make up the majority of humankind.

* * *


Chanté Smit -- She has chocolate skin, brown eyes, and short nappy brown hair. She lives in South Africa, where she belongs to the struggle church Regina Mundi.
Origin: Her superpower began to develop in puberty.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Compassion, Good (+2) Homemaker, Good (+2) Faith, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Traumatic Grief
Powers: Good (+2) Empathy
Motivation: To fight apartheid.

Zsofia Graner -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight black hair. She has dual citizenship in Hungary and Germany. Her parents were diplomats, one from each country.
Origin: Her power manifested during the passionate destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Pastafarian, Good (+2) Citizen Diplomat, Good (+2) Cook, Good (+2) Endurance
Poor (-2) Snappish When Hungry
Powers: Expert (+4) Earthshaking
Motivation: "I'd really rather you didn't judge people..."

Faron Oliveira -- He has Chameleon Skin, green eyes, and dark hair. He lives in Brazil with his mother Eleuteria.
Origin: He was born with his power, first just subtle changes of brown, then faint earth tones, then brighter colors. Now he can do vivid colors and even replicate familiar designs. It's still improving.
Uniform: Street clothes. He likes things with characters on them.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Full of Energy, Good (+2) Student
Poor (-2) Sitting Still
Powers: Expert (+4) Chameleon Skin
Motivation: To make Brazil a nicer place to live.

* * *

"Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility."
-- Saint Augustine

Che Guevara is associated with the explosion of La Coubre.  See also Guerrillero Heroico (English: "Heroic Guerrilla Fighter"), about the iconic photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda.

The struggle churches have helped fight apartheid.

The Tank Man is an iconic figure from the Tiananmen Square incident.

The Pan-European Picnic was a famous peace demonstration.

Chicago's Freezing Fire left some vivid photos.

The Caras Pintadas have a long history in Brazil and are currently using social media for activism.

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Current Mood: busy busy

6 comments or Leave a comment
labelleizzy From: labelleizzy Date: April 27th, 2015 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow. Vivid and imaginative use of smaller suoerpowers.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 27th, 2015 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed this so much. I wanted to show how a little power in the right place could make an important difference, even if it didn't attract much attention.
From: technoshaman Date: April 28th, 2015 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhhh, yeah. Sharing the snot out of this one.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 28th, 2015 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Recs are candy. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2015 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
You have a way with words.

And so does the poet. Thank you - both.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 28th, 2015 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed the poem so much.
6 comments or Leave a comment