Efé Pygmies of the Eastern Ituri Rain Forest
"People of Love" Poem

Poem and Photography by JEAN-PIERRE HALLET

Here stands the Forest, Ituri,
          and wildly beautiful!
     Rich in gauzy orchids,
          velvet poinsettias
               and maidenhair ferns.
Fields of moist shade,
     trembling shadows
          and shafts of golden sunlight
               peering through tangled vines
                    and gnarled trees.
A vast garden, an Edenic land,
     Free to stand,
          to bless,
               to shelter.
     Free from screeching sounds,
          no hot sidewalks and dusty streets
     But friendly trees stand
          with open arms,
     A solemn mystery, enduring strength.
          Like God Himself, they stand,
This is home for my Pygmy friends.

There are no cathedrals, plush carpets golden alters, nor mammoth organs and choirs. Worship ascends from greening, moss carpeted aisles of tender, lace-like foliage. There is no book but Nature's Holy writ, no score to follow But with grace and poise the Harpist strums his prayer. I have shared with them their song of life, their laughter and their tears. We have philosophized in the splendor of the night and nestled by the soft warm fire to count the stars together. I've rejoiced in their blessings of a brand new life and heard a lullaby. I have sorrowed as I covered tenderly, with warm brown earth, a beloved and shared a broken heart. An old man stood alone. We wept. God was there. I felt a bond, a mystic bond, stronger than blood itself. I have carried them in my arms and loved them. I became to them as one who eases the yoke. And I have learned as from Solomon or Confucius, Great wisdom and gained a view, an extraordinary view, of the depth, the height and breadth of Osani, the Pygmy word for Love.

Top of the Page 1960:
Only 3,800 Surviving
1972: Documentary Film
"The Little Giants"
Presidential End Hunger Award
Poem: "People of Love" The Eighteen Sins of Man Contributions to
The Pygmy Fund