Girls can cut up and be silly
Girls can stare you down with the wrath of a thousand Furys
Girls can flex their muscles and shine
Girls can rowrowrow in time
And their muscles will tremble
And their spirits will quake
But they will not give up
They will not tap out in defeat
Because Girls can
And push through
And rise up
Like Storm commanding a tornado
And Diana beating back Ares in battle
And they do this all without the power of Supers
Reminding every girl
With each cut of their paddles through water
propelled by determination and muscle power
neither Tempest nor Atlantic
-vast and deadly-
Can bridle their spirit
when not even the bullbud could tame it
Because the will to will yourself across 3,000 nautical fucking miles
Comes from within
You just have to arch your back
feel it all in your sternum
big up your chest, and
And grab um
Have you heard about TeamAntiguaIslandGirls? Well you should. They are the first all black all female, and only the third Antigua and Barbuda, team to attempt the Talisker Whiskey Challenge, billed as the world’s toughest row. How tough? Read my accounting by the first Antigua and Barbuda (Guinness World Book record setting) team to attempt and complete the row just a handful of years ago – when they did it, it was extraordinary because though Antigua was home to the World Heritage site, Nelson’s Dockyard, where the row ended, it was perceived as something that adventuring souls from other places did. It took one man to ask, why can’t we be adventuring too? People laughed, they always do; but they did it and them doing it had a second team going…heeeeeyyyy…and that second team of considerably younger men made what looked like easy work of it…and soon another set of hopefuls were going….hmmmmm… and here we are. Team Antigua Island Girls is rowing not just for themselves nor simply to capture the imagination of our little twin island nation but for Cottage of Hope which provides shelter for girls who need it. The team behind Team Antigua Island Girls has had the media savvy to get them in to Essence among other publications and build all kinds of enthusiasm around the firsts they represent – can anyone say, #blackgirlmagic – including this Super-hero themed bit of art work by teacher and graphic designer Sonalli Andrews.
I decided to make it my writing prompt today. How about you? Are you feeling inspired?
This is the image (from the Team Antigua Island Girls website) that inspired the opening line of my poem and, since it was just a first draft writing prompt, I went with it. It’s not what I thought I was going to write but more writing may come. In the meantime, hail up to the women of Team Antigua (Barbuda) Island Girls: from left Samara Emmanuel, Christal Clashing, Junella King, Elvira Bell, and Kevinia Francis.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.