Children of the Amazon Poem

Down in the pocket of our planet blue
There's a deep green forest and a river too
They're known as the Amazon, wide and free
Can you imagine I live there with my family?

Yes, I live on the reaching sprawling plain
Where the rains of the Andes lazily drain
Draped in a living tapestry
It's a great green grove of natural harmony

Yes, I live in the rain forest where the crickets ring
Where the parrots chatter and the monkeys swing
Where the anaconda glides over glassy lagoons
Where the caiman cruises and the crested heron croons

Where the piranha grins and snaps its jaws
Where the tree frog peeps and the ani caws
Where the jaguar roams silent seeking its fill
Where the toucan preens with an overdue bill

So I welcome you, friend, to our forest home
With its canopy roof and its floor of loam
Come get to know me, stay for a while
There's so much to see behind my smile

Though some different things may fill my days
My life's like yours in plenty of ways
I still like to laugh, work and play
And of course I go to school every day

And though I live in the forest where life overflows
Where the ceiba twists and the heliconia grows
We've much in common, I think you'll agree
If you visit for a while and spend some time with me.


We all begin life as a bundle in arms
So we need a family to shield us from harm
And since were fully unaware of the way we will roam
We must start the journey in a love-filled home

So I'd like you first to meet my family
It's as important to me as anything could be
For in our culture family's the key
To a life that's healthy, whole and happy

It starts in our home with my father and mother
And of course my sisters and brothers
But throughout our village it includes many more
For a family lives behind more than one door

There's nothing like visiting my grandpa and ma
Grandma can cook like you never saw!
Her specialties include turtle eggs and bocachico
And sometimes armadillo, mmm - que rico!

And while we're all enjoying the grub
Grandpa entertains the merry club
With traditional tales and histories old
And myths of our origin for centuries told

Like stories of the monkey from which humans descend
Or the boa which symbolizes life's beginning and end
Or of the frog which represents fertility
Or the jaguar which stands for power and dignity

My uncles and aunts are also part of the band
And there's no one like cousins when fun's at hand
What a wonderful thing it is to be
Part of this web called family


But now that I'm older I can also see
That family's equivalent to responsibility
There are many tasks that I must bear
To contribute to our family's overall welfare

Whether selling Coca-Cola to tourists in our family store
Helping Mom make chicha or Dad fish at the lake shore
Or taking care of my siblings or my newest niece
My work plays a role in keeping family peace

At school we're also like a family
Because a family of families is a community
That's why we have mingas where we all work as one
And the community work always gets done

But soon the work is over and it's time to play
And naturally that's our favorite time of day
Off to the playground and the woods we wend
To frolic with our neighbors who are our best friends

In a traditional game we climb a slick pole
But we also like marbles - or a dip at the swim hole
We love to play soccer and basketball
But a game called barco is our favorite of all


So now that you've met my friends and family
Let's take a walk so we can see
This wondrous environment that I call home
The amazing Amazon, our cultural backbone

On one hand the rain forest is also like a friend
In its abundant wealth it freely lends
But caution must certainly be exercised here
For many forest foes are worthy of fear

A respectful balance must be maintained
Between helpful and harmful, beauty and bane
And if we protect this balance with attention and care
The rain forest showers us with gifts to spare

It provides an array of nuts and fruits
Meat and fish and edible roots
It also gives us goods from which we make crafts
Like necklaces and baskets and blowgun shafts

It lends us medicine from plants and fiber from leaves
Water from springs and wood from trees
And sometimes with luck exotic pets
Like injured birds or orphaned pygmy marmosets

In the rain forest we have all that we need
From the mighty tree to the humble seed
In its vitality we too thrive
In a spectacle of beauty that's colorful and alive

So I'm glad you could visit and spend some time
And see a piece of my life through image and rhyme
Cause it's important for people of different lands
To share who they are and extend their hands

Like canoes across water we must bridge open spaces
To discover hidden wonders like smiles on faces
And like roots that reach down from high in the tree
Only through connection can we find our true beauty

So achca pagarachu; shuj punja gama - samashun
Thanks for coming; bye bye - see you soon.

Children of the Amazon Home

  Photo Credit: #1&2 - Asun Onstott

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