I love environment
I can see a bird flying free in the blue sky
After the rain that washed everything new
Environment gives us oxygen and carbon dioxide
Birds are talking to us.
This is a little group poem written in cahoots with three children from a Delhi slum - the wonders of Skype! They form part of an organisation called ROPIO - Reach Out and Pass It On - which aims to build a self-sustaining, empowering environment for children.
Subjects covered: Cricket (I wanted to know if there was an all-women's cricket team - there is)
Poetry: the name of one of the girls was Kavita, which means 'poem' in Hindi, so naturally yours truly assigned the task of co-writing a poem. I also sent them one of mine - about autumn breathing outside my window… I could hear them reading it aloud to one another before they approved of it :)
It is Chinese New Year and although there are no festive dragons or fireworks here in Cambridge, my year began with Rafi's angel voice on my phone belting out 'Gong Xi Fa Cai Auntie Shaiii!!' which, as you can imagine, I have replayed several times. It is a feather sent from a thousand li away and it never fails to cheer me.
The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. This bird, boasted the market vendor, was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose, and now look!- it is too beautiful to eat. Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of li wide, stretching their necks towards America…but when she arrived in the new country, the immigration officials pulled her swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory… Now the woman was old. For a long time now the woman had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her, "This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions."
Thus begins The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I think about the feathers I am carrying for my nephew and nieces - some will appear worthless, and some may be misunderstood, but I shall carry my heart in them, and with it, all my good intentions.
first image from Slum Children Who Want To Do More
second from Lorraine Nam - Neatorama