NaPoWriMo 2023: Day 28 – World on Fire

Last but not least, here’s our daily prompt, optional and once more taken from our archives. Have you ever flipped to the index of a book and found it super interesting? Well, I have (yes, I live an exciting life!) For example, the other day I pulled from my shelf a copy of on old book that excerpts parts of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journals. I took a look at the index, and found the following entry under “Man”:

fails to attain perfection, 46; can take advantage of any quality within him, 46; his plot of ground, 46; his use, 52, 56; not to be trusted with too much power, 55; should not be too conscientious, 58; occult relationship between animals and, 75; God in, 79, 86; not looked upon as an animal, 80; gains courage by going much alone, 81; the finished, 89; and woman, distinctive marks of, 109; reliance in the moral constitution of, 124; the infinitude of the private, 151; and men, 217; should compare advantageously with a river, 258.

That’s a poem, right there!

Today, I challenge you to write your own index poem. You could start with found language from an actual index, or you could invent an index, somewhat in the style of this poem by Kell Connor. Happy writing!
I wrote my poem based on found language from the index of the book, ‘World On Fire’ by Amy Chua, written in 2003. I have used the book’s title for my poem and any unfound line included in the poem has been marked with an asterisk.

World on Fire

Holocaust, 79
Genocide in Rwanda, 165
Forced assimilation in Thailand, 184
Ethnic confiscation in Indonesia,10
Nationalization in Russia, 131
Radicalisation in Afghanistan*
War in Ukraine*

Who’s responsible?*
Market dominance by minorities-, 207
Indians in East Africa, 112
Lebanese in West Africa, 115
Whites in South Africa, 97
Chinese-friendly dictatorships, 43
A backlash against democracy, 127p
American Dream, 195
Demagogues, 124
Objectionable practices, 279
Scapegoating, 129
World Trade Centre attack, 249
Arab-Israeli conflict, 147
Shia Muslims, 14
Serbians, 111

White dominance, 69
Cultural dominance
Ethnic violence, 72
Forced expulsion, 147
Humiliation, 256
Induced emigration, 164
Ethnic confiscation, 136
Pigmentocracy, 145
Idiosyncrasy, 250
Hypocrisy, 273
Income disparity, 118
Insularity, 145
Minority rule, 113
Anti-Americanism, 20

How far will we go?*
Anti-Semitism, 138
Crony Capitalism, 147
Racism, 56
Ethnonationalism, 79
Human Rights, 260
Philanthropy, 285
Foreign aid, 247
‘Browning of America’, 200
Suffrage, 147
Awareness, 130
Is it helping?*

Where are we heading?*
Who’s responsible?*
Who’s going to stop it?*
World’s on fire*
It was in 2003*
It still is*
Twenty years after*

What are we waiting for?*

3 responses to “NaPoWriMo 2023: Day 28 – World on Fire”

  1. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet Avatar

    How exciting, Smitha. I look forward to reading it! ❤


  2. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet Avatar

    A fantastic poem, Smitha! ❤ You could write a companion poem indexing all that’s right, though it might be a bit shorter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Dear Cheryl, what a fantastic idea you had. Today’s prompt required us to write exactly what you suggested- a Palinode poem. I chose ‘World on Fire’ to write it because of you. I hope I did justice. Do let me know.
      And like you said, it is shorter and I struggled. But, I got there. So, there’s hope. XXX

      Liked by 1 person

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