A Song to Sing by Chloe Martin (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)


A song to Sing

Today I met someone new
She was brown with long hair
And her eyes were green-blue
Her hands were soft, skin unscarred
Picking cotton with baby hands
Now that will be hard

Her name was Uhuru and she was scared
Just give respect and he won’t pull your hair
I told her master screams and shouts sometime
Perplexed and confused she blinked her eyes
She said, “Master who?”
“Where is Chief Mkuuwa Kichu?”

She says she’s from somewhere far away
Where she lived in clay huts with roofs made of hay
I asked her what she did for fun
She said, “I played catch with my friends in the warm sun
We were always together, like a family, you know?
We loved each other and lmba Wimbo”

In the village of lmba Wimbo
There was chanting, dancing and sing too
I would love to hear just one song

She said songs represent where you come from
I overheard her singing something
She sang of angels with wings and children playing

I listened to her sing and tell stories
I then wondered how mother had never told me
I wanted to play by the river
And have big family dinners
I was angry, livid, hurting and raging
All along I didn’t know what I was missing

At mid-day there we were picking cotton
Master slowly approached us and took her away
But my day turned dark for she was chosen
No slave ever dared to scream
But today there was a new noise for him

Uhuru was thrown out clothes torn
Butt naked, just as she was born
She did not please him, he had no fun
So he beat her skin red until she was broken
I ran to her side and held her face
I looked into her eyes and her pureness had been erased

We ran far from the plantation
Searching for words to chant, drums to dance to,
Ignoring the shots fired, pounding hooves racing behind us
Focusing on the ocean crashing and the birds in the sunset
Ignoring our feet leaving the ground as we leaped off the cliff
Imagining our fluffy white angel wings
We were just two little girls looking for a song to sing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chloe Martin, 14, is a student at St. Anthony’s Secondary. An Antiguan/ Canadian, she enjoys creating art. She grew up exploring Antigua, using it as inspiration for her art. She asserts that she is an artist entrepreneur who has started her own business.


Chloe accepting her prizes at the 2018 awards from Wadadli Pen patron London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.

ABOUT THE POEM: “A creative piece” – judge

“I was inspired by the culture of Africans who have  freedom and a wonderful life, one which slaves did not have. As the main character learned, sometimes we don’t realize how terrible we are being treated until someone teaches us. It is important to maintain cultural traditions especially in hard times because it brings hope to the future generations.” – Chloe

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Chloe received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

1 Comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News

One response to “A Song to Sing by Chloe Martin (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)

  1. Impressive and moving!

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