Poetic expressions

Nadine Williams


Nadine Williams

Intangible heritage

Published Date: 08 Sep 2017

Photo: Nadine Williams

I tell stories orally and in written form, mostly through poetry, which has now evolved into fine visual art. The inspiration came about when I started writing as a form of therapy to get through major difficulties, with the feedback garnered from sharing being the catalyst to birth this medium.

The impact of storytelling on my culture and community varies – from passing down oral traditions, connecting immigrants and their offspring to their roots, inspiring aspiring artists, creating awareness of culture to a foreign audience, and causing introspection, to being the voice of others who for whatever reasons find themselves voiceless. It empowers and causes others to be emboldened, causes others to find their mediums of creative expression, and brings respectability to the craft of writing and storytelling.

I see the future of my work impacting audiences internationally long after I’ve retired and expired.

The Immigrant Child

by Nadine Williams

I am the immigrant child

Born and bred on the fingers of bananas
backs of chickens heads of goats livers tripes and kidneys of cows

The immigrant child whose forefathers hoarded their monies to
ensure that on September mornings there would be no bawling

Since I like the rest could stand with the best big up my chest
and proudly tell the teachers good morning

Yes I am the immigrant child whose very large family
shared two bedrooms and one verandah

Who fumbled with bottled torches at nights to find the toilets

And though I may reside in four and five bedroom houses
with en-suites attached

There was a time when I had roofs that were thatched and patched
to keep the waters at bay

Hey hear me when I say

I am the immigrant child who has embarked upon a land of promise

A land foretold many years ago

A land where milk and honey flows

The immigrant child whose migration and subsequent integration has
made me a proud Canadian

Entitled to all that the shores of Nova Scotia Manitoba British
Columbia Newfoundland and Labrador has in store

As much sap as my tongue can lap from the barks of the maple trees
while mastering as many degrees as my tuition fees deems feasible

The immigrant child whose rich heritage oozes from my pores as I try
to ensure that the doors of these great memories are open wide to
impart a sense of humility and pride

While being a guide to this generation and the generations after that

I am the immigrant child

Born and bred on the fingers of bananas backs of chickens heads of
goats livers tripes and kidneys of cows

And I am the immigrant child who will die humbly holding dear

The heart of the breadfruit.