Japan Poem

The power plants are breaking
its thorns are breaking
its leaves are breaking
the plates go up and down

one plate goes on the other
one plate turns on another
(that makes an earthquake)
the salamis are going up and down

this is the ocean I'm drawing
an island that only has salt water
salt water  salt water
maybe I could visit Japan    

if I don't die

--Willow Falcón, age 4

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

A Few Notes on "Japan Poem"
by Elizabeth Falcón

Every once in a while, I take a little time out of my crazy schedule to sit down with my daughter and transcribe the poems and stories that happen to be percolating in her head. At the age of 4, she has already been exposed to quite a bit of poetry, both from my reading aloud to her everything from Mark Strand to Nursery Rhymes, and from the occasional poetry reading.  She has also attended the Poetry Center's free Saturday program, Poetry Joeys, where she really absorbed how to find a rhythm and a voice.

We often listen to the radio in the car, and she is very aware of what is being said. Soon after the earthquake in Japan, she was asking me every day for updates on what was happening, and I did my best to explain what words like "earthquake," "power plant," "nuclear meltdown," and "tsunami" mean. A few weeks or so after the earthquake, we sat down to have a (completely unrelated) composing/transcribing session.  At first she began composing some stories about princesses and birds. But then she moved on to Japan, and out came this poem, word for word. The only thing I did was break the words into lines.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Created on: 
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Arizona Board of Regents