Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

  • Mood:

Poem: "Yon Sèl Lang Se Janm Ase"

This poem came out of the May 2, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dreamwriteremmy. It also fills the "baby" square in my 4-3-17 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] kengr. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some touchy stuff. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features an unsupportive social worker, language discrimination, a prickly soul, vulgar talk, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

"Yon Sèl Lang Se Janm Ase"

Saraphina was crying because
not all social workers were
as nice as Heidi was.

Aidan felt so frustrated
that he tugged on his hair,
trying to focus himself back on
the office and the woman who
was making an obstacle of herself.

The Language Support Department of
the Human Services Center was,
in fact, not supportive at all.

The clerk in charge of it had
a tight fist and a dwol kaka,
neither of which Aidan wanted
to say where his baby could hear.

"Don't listen to her, pitit," said Aidan.
"Your mother tongue is a language."

"Haitian isn't a real language,
just a jumble of French and African,"
Chrysann Clark said, wrinkling her nose.

"No, that would be a pidgin, made by
adults speaking different languages but
needing to communicate," Aidan said.
"A creole is a natural language that evolves
when children grow up hearing a pidgin.
It's quite an impressive accomplishment."

He'd been reading the books that
Heidi had recommended, which were
apparently more use than the person
who was supposed to help children
get support for learning a new language.

Saraphina needed to hear about how
her people were smart and resourceful,
not that her native language "wasn't real."

Aidan would just have to do his own research,
and maybe set up a program of his own.
He didn't need the department's money,
but other people weren't so lucky.

Besides, Saraphina would benefit
from having other children around.

"How come she keeps crying
like that?" Chrysann asked as she
stared at the sobbing toddler.

Aidan was tired of being polite
to someone causing so much trouble.
"Because your soul feels like a sandbur,
bourik idyo," he said truthfully.

"I don't know why you're bothering
with that gabble," Chrysann said,
giving him an offended look.
"You speak perfectly good English."

"Yon sèl lang se janm ase,"
Aidan said as he walked out.

One language is never enough.

* * *


Chrysann Clark -- She has ochre skin, black eyes, and short black hair with just a little wave. Her heritage includes black, Hispanic, and Asian. Chrysanne is a social worker for the Language Support department where Aidan goes in California. Logical and proper, she is a hard worker but has little sympathy for the people in her care. She pushes assimiliation to the point of erasing other identities, with a particular dislike for Hispanic and Afro-Caribbean cultures.
Qualities: Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Proper, Good (+2) Sociology, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Insensitive

* * *

Yon sèl lang se janm ase -- One language is never enough
-- Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole has a rich history.

dwol kaka -- mouth full of shit
-- Haitian Creole on YouSwear

Pitit -- little one
-- MamaLisa

A pidgin is a shorthand language created as a means to communicate between groups who do not share a common language. A creole is a full-sized, natural language evolving from two or more source languages.

Bourik idyo -- ill-mannered idiot
-- Kreyol Dictionary

Sandburs come in various species, of which at least one is found in haiti.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, linguistics, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.