Friday, March 22, 2013

World Poetry Day: Senna's “Friend, Don’t Stay Behind"

Today, in celebration of World Poetry Day, we want to introduce to you Senna’s artistry, her soul, and her craft.

As described by writer Marie Arana, Senna has “a poet’s soul and a warrior’s core,” with an electric, rhythmic cadence when she speaks, and a resiliency that’s immediately palpable in her presence.

Senna’s favorite poet is Cesar Vallejos. Our favorite poet is Senna. She is one of the unforgettable girls of Girl Rising.

Here, the young writer recites a favorite Vallejos poem with an intensity and spirit that foretell success far beyond the makeshift walls of her family’s mining-shanty home. Watch for her shy smile at the end – and you’ll see a girl ready to rise:

Read her extraordinary poem, in English or Spanish, “Friend, Don’t Stay Behind".

Friend, why are you like that,
so sad. What’s wrong with you?
Tell me.
Friend, don’t be like that,
don’t you know
you can surmount
any problem? Let’s talk.

I know that problem.
I too passed through it,
but look at me
now, I’ve walked ahead,
with all my might.

You do it, friend,
I know you can
Walk. You can.
I did it too.

No, don’t thank me,
friend. Help those
who need
as much as you
have needed.

Helping, you will gather
the courage, the strength
to make another stronger.

Come, walk, we will do this together
now, friend.

–Puno, February, 2013

In Spanish:


Amiga, porque estás así
tan triste. Que te
pasa? Cuentame.
Amiga, no te pongas así,
no sabes que
tú puedes salir
adelante de cualquier
problema que tengas? Hablemos.

Amiga, ya se que estás
pasando por ese problema,
yo tambien pase por lo mismo,
pero ahora
me ves, he salido adelante
poniendo todo mi esfuerzo.

Tú puedes, amiga,
yo se que tú puedes
salir. Vas a poder.

No, no me agradezcas,
amiga. Ayuda a otras
que lo necesitan
como tú lo
has necesitado.

Ayudalas, y tendrás la
valentía, la fuerza
de poder hacer mas fuertes a los demás.
Ven, sal, lo haremos juntas
ahora, amiga.

–Puno, febrero, 2013

Senna, 14, attended school at the insistence of her father, who died after years toiling in the gold mines in a gritty mountain village in the Peru’s Puno province. Senna excelled in school and developed a love for poetry. Today, she attends a secondary school supported by CARE, and continues to be inspired to write poetry.

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