19 July 2010

With Love from Angola

rough stones emerge from muck in hands
and cross continents, oceans, more hands
white stones graded, polished, cut
set in gold, platinum, silver
riches and love
finger gems

the first pair of hands
digs to eat, to feed families
while the richest rebels in Africa
The Revolutionary United Front
(known for chopping off limbs)
barter diamonds for weapons
terror chases 500,000 people
from home
butchered diggers’ blood flows
through Angola’s rivers and congeals
along their banks

on the last pair of hands,
a finger
flaunts forever

Look! He went to Jared’s.

For a stone that retails for $10,000, a digger receives ~$800, and that is only if a man with a gun (or worse) does not take it from him first. Most diamonds only bring around $20 to the digger.

Different estimates lead me to believe that approximately 15% of the world’s diamonds currently at market come from Angola. Statistics skew both ways…this seems to come up most frequently.

Do I wear diamonds? No, I never have worn them, but my reasons are far from noble. I don’t like the way gemstone rings catch on things. I talk with my hands too much.

I found this prompt at Poets United, check out the link for more takes on the prompt.

For readers not in the U.S. Jared's is a jewelery store, television commercials repeat themselves so often, that "he went to Jared's" has become a euphemism for "he bought me a ring!" I do not know where Jared's buys their diamonds.


evalinn said...

I watched Blood Diamond recently, and I´m happy I don´t wear any diamonds either. Nice piece!

Mary said...

This is a different take on the diamond prompt. How sad to think that the diamond diggers in Angola get so little and that diamonds are bartered for weapons! Your poem was enlightening.

brenda w said...

Evalinn, I saw Blood Diamond over a year ago, and after writing this, I want to watch it again. Thanks for stopping by.
Mary-I thought about writing about my husband's women friends. They told him I was lying about not wanting a diamond. (I wasn't and he believed me, thankfully!) But, this take on the prompt kept scratching...

Dee Martin said...

I haven't watched Blood Diamonds yet - this makes me want to though. We take so much for granted. Jareds indeed....

Systematic Weasel said...

Wonderfully written! An excellent take on the prompt!


signed...bkm said...

It is a great take, Many diamonds come from Canada now - I believe it should be disclosed where they come from..so people can ensure blood free gems..great post...bkm

rch said...

Hi Brenda, a very powerful reminder of the greed that often accompanies things of beauty.