Friday, September 18, 2009

Poetry Friday: Coconut Cowgirl

Enjoy the poem that tied for third prize this year in my annual poetry contest for teens between cultures. Read it aloud for the rocking Fijian rhythm.

Coconut Cowgirl
by Hosanna, Fiji/USA, Age 16




Island princess, barefoot and brown
Classroom’s a forest, birds all around
Happy go lucky, no need for worry
Me go slow when me go, no reason to hurry.

But soldiers they come, and rebels they fight
Running to safety, run through the night
Get on an airplane, fly up so high
Over the dateline, me stubborn to cry

Land in a desert, tumbleweed brown
Mountains of purple, live in a town
Girls they be laughing, my shoes be too small
Boys they be jealous, I outrun them all

Lonely and weary, accent so strong
Teacher so phony, me don’t belong
“Hey! little girl, where you come from?
Looks like you cooked too long in the sun!”

“I’m not a racist! My best friends are brown,
Just don’t let my father see you hanging around.”
Me smile and pretend me don’t understand
Me choke back my shame, hide tears with my hand.

Me don’t wear lipstick, me don’t use perfume
Me don’t need TV or big living room
Me not a cowgirl, me eyes they not blue
No matter I try, me won’t ever be you.

Me want to go home, climb a coconut tree
Me want to eat mango, drink lemon-leaf tea.
Me hate this whole town, its shiny brick houses
Me hate wearing wool and me hate starched white blouses.

Me want to go fishing, pick pink and red flowers
And listen to Nana talk story for hours
Me want to be barefoot and swim in blue sea
Me want to see people who look just like me.

America’s promise, Land of the Free
Liberty shining from sea to sea
Be who you are, but learn how we be
Be who you are, but be just like we.

Me tired and sad, me have no friend
Me thinking it better if all this would end
And then through sorrow, eyes seeking mine
A friend understanding, quiet and kind.

Me now hears her voice of truth and of hope,
Freedom is ringing! Hope is springing!
Me lift my crying eyes and stand to see,
Waiting there for me, my Liberty.

Photo courtesy of satanaperkele via Creative Commons.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Becky Laney at Becky's Book Reviews.

5 comments:

Author Amok said...

Thanks for sharing this. What a great voice. I love the lines, "“I’m not a racist! My best friends are brown,/Just don’t let my father see you hanging around.”

jama said...

Fabulous poem. Beautiful rhythm and so much truth!

Doret said...

This was wonderful. I loved it.

Mitali, thanks so much for sharing these poems.

Anna Alter said...

What a beautiful poem! I can't believe the author is 16, wow.

Melissa said...

Love the rhythm. (It's still echoing in my head!) Also love the innocence and hope--and the belief in the healing of human connection--that is not destroyed despite such hard, hard experiences. Thank you for sharing this! Melissa