Yesterday I posted Vladimir of Lviv’s imitation poem of Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago.” (Vladimir is a student in my sister Ceci’s ESL conversation class. All the students were asked to write a poem about home using Sandburg’s poem as a model.)
Today I’ll highlight excerpts from a few more student works. I wish I could include everyone’s, because all the writers, those featured here and those who aren’t, amaze me. After fourth or fifth grade, writing poetry is an unfamiliar, challenging and potentially embarrassing activity for most people, but writing poetry in another language is more difficult still. Kudos to all!
Sumiyo C. writes of Kyoto:
Come and show me another city with historical treasures, so precious and
protected the enemy could not drop a bomb on them,
Here is a place where people live in harmony with the beautiful nature of the four seasons.
Grand as the Heian-jingu, tranquil as the Ryoanji rock garden,
traditional as the Gion-festival
She closes the poem with this lovely testament to her city’s endurance:
Once a prosperous capital, center of culture, now carrying on their
practice to the next generation, creating meticulous craftwork,
Restoring instead of destroying, caring, valuing, respecting, proud to be
keeping tradition, delicate beauty, craftsmanship.
“Restoring/Restoring instead of destroying” is an artful little phrase that I’m enjoying/enjoying.
Myongjin A. of Kyongjoo, South Korea begins her piece with the opposition of crumbling antiquities and present vitality:
Ancient city, still alive
Buddha’s energy coming from the giant tombs
Relics and legends
Beauty of thousands time
City of the Shilla Dynasty
Calm, quiet, shy, powerful, smart
Amanda L. of Brazil wrote of her new home, Chicago:
Buildings scratching the sky, catching the wind
Cold, intimidating, yet magical
City of enchantment.
From now on, every time I’m in Chicago I’ll think of the buildings “scratching the sky, catching the wind.” Even someone whose native language is English would be proud to have written those lines.
Natalia V. of Belarus also wrote of her new hometown:
My heart beats quickly
Seeing young people in love.
Such a tender image! Does anyone hear South Pacific’s “Hello, Young Lovers” in the background? I get a sense of Natalia remembering something beautiful from her own past as she watches new love in her new country.
M.K. of Seuol, South Korea employed alliteration to describe her home city:
Splendid, sparkling, small space
City of Super-duper energy
Finally, Esther C. of Korea writes this pithy and powerful portrait of her home country:
Barbed wires, land mines
Brothers against brothers
Families ripped apart
Yet hoping for peace
My country, dreaming of unification