My daughter loves nature, wildlife and animals so she is thrilled with her latest homework assignment. She got to choose a poem about a rainforest animal to present at her class”poesia y postre” (poetry and dessert) night next month.
The poem she chose is from award-winning and local Chicano poet (he lives in our town and works at our university) Francisco Alarcón. In his collection of bilingual/environmental poems, “Animal Poems of the Iguazu”, he addresses wildlife and habitat preservation and introduces children to the wonders of the natural world -through the Iguazú rainforest of South America. The artwork in his books – by Maya Christina Gonzalez, a San Francisco-based artist – is wonderful – playful, colorful and vibrant.
[Alarcón has written other literature for children, as well . Try not to smile when working in your veggie garden after reading “Laughing Tomatoes” from his Spring poem collection. ]
The Iguazú (also spelled Iguassu) is part of a national park between Brazil and Argentina. It has 275 falls and the surrounding forest is full of rich flora and fauna, and home to hundreds of species of birds like toucans. It is now officially added to my Places we Need to Go list.
The poem she chose to present – in both english and spanish – is about a Coatí(member of the raccoon family and found in the Iguazú rainforest) How cute is he?
It goes like this.
Coatí (by Francisco Alarcón)
I’m a coatí, very proud, of my great tail
so curious, so hungry, with my big nose
sniffing out, the food I know, you all carry
un coatí soy, muy orgulloso, de mi gran cola
muy curioso, muy hambriento, con mi gran nariz
voy olfateando, la comida que se
que todos cargan
His poems teach adults something too. From the same collection, the poem, Giant Ants will remind those of us who love to travel how we can get caught up with photo-taking and facebook-posting instead of Just Being in the Moment. I plead guilty….
It goes like this.
Giant Ants (by Francisco Alarcón)
from our perch, we ants can spot, many people
walking in file, like giant ants, on steel pathways
holding digital cameras, taking lots of photos, of each other
ignoring the great, and tiny wonders, all around them
desde nuestros miradores, las hormigas podemos, divisar mucha gente
caminando en fila,como hormigas gigantes,sobre senderos de acero
com cámaras digitales,en mano sacándose,muchas fotos entre si
ignorando las grandes,y pequeñas maravillas, a todo su alrededor