ICAN Travel: Poetry Adventure II

Let’s take another trip around the world with our Youth Roving Reporter Naomi Margolis. This time we have poems from Ghana, Cuba and the United States of America.

A Plane, Globe and Poetry

First stop, Ghana in Africa.

Purple, Kwame Dawes

Walking, I drew my hand over the lumpy
bloom of a spray of purple; I stripped away
my fingers, stained purple; put it to my nose,

the minty honey, a perfume so aggressively
pleasant—I gave it to you to smell,
my daughter, and you pulled away as if

I was giving you a palm full of wasps,
deceptions: “Smell the way the air
changes because of purple and green.”

This is the promise I make to you:
I will never give you a fist full of wasps,
just the surprise of purple and the scent of rain.

Next stop, we head to Chile in South America.

The Republic of Poetry, Martín Espada (1957)

In the republic of poetry,
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.

In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.

In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.

In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.

In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.

Finally, we fly back to the United States of America in North America.

Un Mango Grows in Kansas, Huascar Medina

You have found me
hidden in a wheat field
within a husk of corn
growing for you

I am ready
pick me
Hold me in your hands
remove my skin
peel away my color
find that I am tender
soft and sweet

Eat of me
until there is nothing
and your mouths are empty
and your bellies filled

What is left
will live
as seed
to grow
and less bitter

Thank you for traveling with us for some poetry from around the world. What poems from around the world are important to you? Let’s us know in the contact page.

About Naomi

Youth Roving Reporter Naomi

Naomi Margolis is a cellist currently studying with Diane Chaplin. She has participated with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony since 2019 and performs in their Symphony Orchestra and the MYSfits String Ensemble. Naomi also participated in the Youth Orchestra of the Los Angeles National Festival in July 2022 under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. She previously participated in masterclasses with Norman Fischer and has performed alongside professional musicians and ensembles, such as the Oregon Symphony and members of A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra.

Naomi is the founder and president of Lincoln Chamber Orchestra, her high school’s student-led performing group. Outside of music, Naomi is involved with language study initiatives and is currently serving as an exchange alumni ambassador for the US Department of State. She enjoys learning languages like Mandarin, Spanish, German, and Hindi.