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“1804” by Rhoda Moise

In February of 2022, we released our first Open Call: How might we recreate public health as art, letters, stories, and poetry? The following is a poetry submission we received from this open call.

“This poetry submission, 1804, both contextualizes and juxtaposes Haiti’s revolution and regression in order to address the public health issue described above. Poetry, like any art form, and similar to pursuits of advancements in public and global health, is never complete. This original poem was first written in 2013, updated in 2018, and more recently revised in 2022 in light of the recent events in Haiti. Notably, this journal’s May 1st deadline coincides with the start of Haitian heritage month. May this piece move readers to action through compassion incited by collective responsibility for public and global health equity. Thank you.”

Rhoda Moise


““Pour le Pays, pour les Ancêtres

Marchons unis, marchons unis

Dans nos rangs point de traîtres

Du sol soyons seuls maîtres

Marchons unis, marchons unis

Pour le Pays, pour les Ancêtres

Marchons, marchons, marchons unis

Pour le Pays, pour les Ancêtres”

One tree, many roots. 

Many roots, one tree.

Nous sommes la perle des Antilles.

Many have forgotten or perhaps they do not know that Haiti was the pearl of the Caribbean many years ago.




Haitians rebelled and weren’t slaves anymore.

But put that into context, 

At a time when Black freedom wasn’t even a mindset,

A foreign concept.

But wait, let’s take it back to my motherland, my Ayiti Cherie.

Let’s get optical,

A culture deeper than the topical.

Imagine landing on this island oh so tropical.

So clean, teal, pristine,

But the waters hold secrets so mean.

Soft sand and a rhythmic silence,

Belies the past cries of violence

See my ancestors danced to the tambou

Blood red and the blues of voodoo.

So much resilience and so much pride,

But our culture we once had to hide.




From the top of the mountains let freedom roar.

The world has turned its back on us, 

but my people are relentlessly resilient.

Haiti was the first black nation to gain independence.

Why, yes, we are brilliant!

So, save your pity.

Unfortunately, we have definitely seen worse.

I just can’t fathom how you don’t rush to the aid of your little big sister if you see that she is hurt.

Sweet Mother Liberty to the America’s…

Haiti has truly put in revolutionary work. 

Ask Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, ya tu sabes.

Haiti’s babies even helped the US defend its freedom fighting on Savannah Georgia turf.

I mean, where is the reciprocity in freedom fighting?

You don’t find that berserk?

While she’s lying there crying, kicked down, crippled in the dirt?

I am referencing the global perps… I am talking colonial- and imperialism.

We must put public health first.

What were Haiti’s efforts worth?

Does our collective conscious not work? 




Unity is strength.

L’union fait la force.”

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