A Poem About “Esperanza Rising”

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Ryan, P.M., (2002). Esperanza Rising. 1st ed. : Perfection Learning.

      If you’re not familiar with the young adult novel Esperanza Rising, I would highly recommend reading it. This book is a historical fiction novel about a young girl from Mexico. Esperanza is the daughter of a wealthy land owner; to many during this time of economic hardship, she seems to live a charmed life. Her family has a beautiful home and more than enough money to dote on their only daughter. She is showered with beautiful gifts from her mother, father, and grandmother from the time she is little. Though she has many beautiful things, one of her most prized possessions is something you cannot buy; it is the heartbeat of the earth. Esperanza loves her home in Mexico, and at a young age her father teaches her that if she lies on the ground in perfect stillness, she can feel the earth’s heart beating against her own; this stays with Esperanza for the rest of her life.  Unfortunately for Esperanza, her charmed life is about to come to an end. Her father is killed by bandits, and her home is burned down by a forceful suitor of her mother’s. To save their lives and their dignity, Esperanza and her mother must flee to the United States. Though they have opportunities here, things are not much better. The United States is experiencing the Great Depression, and immigrant vegetable pickers do not make much money. Even worse, they live in cramped, dirty conditions which are a far cry from Esperanza’s former life. Throughout the novel she struggles with her loss, her sadness, and her pride. She must learn to do many jobs she has never done before. At many times, it seems as though all hope has abandoned Esperanza, and she wants to give up. In the end, however, she finds that she is not alone; her father’s memory lives on as she hears the earth’s heartbeat in her new home.

     Instead of writing a review for this book (which I guess I kind of just did), I decided to write a poem. This is a poem about Esperanza’s harrowing journey.

A life

A dream

A fantasy

Roses

Mangoes

The earth’s heartbeat

Father

Family

13 porcelain dolls

Love

Security

Safe, high walls

A flash

A blast

A flame

A shame

What’s done is done

Things will never be the same

Dirt

Filth

A family now poor

The dreams of the past

Are no more

Fruit

Work

Long and hard

Hands

Calloused

Beautiful no more

Lost, scared

In a faraway place

Laughter

Ridicule

Insults in one’s face

Try?

But why?

When it all is no good

Pain

Sickness

Trouble in the neighborhood

But faith

Hope

And love in what’s true

And you’ll feel the earth’s heartbeat

Come back to you

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Filed under Young Adult Novels

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