The most amazing and inspiring experience happened to me this afternoon. I was at Miradouro Santa Catarina enjoying the Sunset when I met two strangers: A reggae singer from Guinea, and a traveling poet from Buraka. The poet’s name was Ras Livity, and he hoped to get by through selling his poems. He had a positive vibe and a bright smile; greeting me with a hand, then a fist bump, and then tapping his heart twice with his palm. I found myself returning the gesture – to my surprise – as a wide smile spread on my face.
“Poetry is like a mirror.” He told me. I don’t know what made me believe him, but I did.
“Is that why you write poems?” I asked him.
“Here, I’ll write you one. Where you from…?”
I sat there in the gathering dusk while Ras Livity wrote his poem: a lyrical mirror that he was constructing for me as I watched the sun sink slowly towards the horizon. The backdrop of sun-bleached and white-washed houses before the last minutes of daylight drew my attention – and I looked away from him as he wrote, not wanting to disturb the Muse.
I wandered off, enjoyed the panorama, snapped a photo or two, and returned to find him still busy at work – his body hunched over his note pad, his face a mask of concentration – as he painstakingly inscribed the letters.
The musicians that had been playing stopped to sip their beers; smoke wafted through the breeze; a bout of laughter floated through the twilight. Still, Ras Livity wrote on.
When he was finished he signed it. Ras Livity offered me the poem and said, “here, you don’t have to pay for it.” But, of course I did.
“Bless you.” He said, but it was I who felt blessed. I folded the poem and put it in my wallet.
“You’re not going to read it?” He asked.
“I’ll read it later.” I replied.
“You’re a wise man!” He laughed.
When I got home, I finally did read it. I was floored.
Ras Livity – holding up the mirror for me to take a look.