kerkevik_2014 (kerkevik_2014) wrote,

National Poetry Month 2017 #2. "Dear Matafele Peinem," by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

   I was looking for an entirely different poem earlier today; had no look finding it, when I stumbled across this one. Actually, after deciding on some other idea and, I think, mis-typing.


Anyway, once I saw it, and heard the poem, I thought this would do very well and, just possibly, I may have been meant to find it.


United Nations Climate Summit Opening Ceremony – A poem to my Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, September 24, 2014

   dear matafele peinam,

   you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles
   you are bald as an egg and bald as the buddha
   you are thighs that are thunder and shrieks that are lightning
   so excited for bananas, hugs and
   our morning walks past the lagoon

   dear matafele peinam,

   i want to tell you about that lagoon
   that lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise

   men say that one day
   that lagoon will devour you

   they say it will gnaw at the shoreline
   chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees
   gulp down rows of your seawalls
   and crunch your island’s shattered bones

   they say you, your daughter
   and your granddaughter, too
   will wander rootless
   with only a passport to call home

   dear matafele peinam,

   don’t cry
   mommy promises you
   no one
   will come and devour you

   no greedy whale of a company sharking through political seas
   no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals
   no blindfolded bureaucracies gonna push
   this mother ocean over
   the edge
   no one’s drowning, baby
   no one’s moving
   no one’s losing
   their homeland
   no one’s gonna become
   a climate change refugee

   or should i say
   no one else

   to the carteret islanders of papua new guinea
   and to the taro islanders of the solomon islands
   i take this moment
   to apologize to you
   we are drawing the line here

   because baby we are going to fight
   your mommy daddy
   bubu jimma your country and president too
   we will all fight

   and even though there are those
   hidden behind platinum titles
   who like to pretend
   that we don’t exist
   that the marshall islands
   and typhoon haiyan in the philippines
   and floods of pakistan, algeria, colombia
   and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves
   didn’t exist

   there are those
   who see us

   hands reaching out
   fists raising up
   banners unfurling
   megaphones booming
   and we are
   canoes blocking coal ships
   we are
   the radiance of solar villages
   we are
   the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past
   we are
   petitions blooming from teenage fingertips
   we are
   families biking, recycling, reusing,
   engineers dreaming, designing, building,
   artists painting, dancing, writing
   and we are spreading the word
   and there are thousands out on the street
   marching with signs
   hand in hand
   chanting for change NOW

   and they’re marching for you, baby
   they’re marching for us

   because we deserve to do more than just
   we deserve
   to thrive

   dear matafele peinam,

   you are eyes heavy
   with drowsy weight
   so just close those eyes, baby
   and sleep in peace

   because we won’t let you down

   you’ll see



Here's a link to where I got the poem -


And here's the link to the youtube video -


Goddess preserve,

Kerk Hiraeth

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Tags: climate change, national poetry month 2017
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