Sunday, April 6, 2014

Found Cinquain

I'm stretching the rules of the cinqauin today. Counting words rather than syllables, and fudging just a bit.

Mary Kingsley lived among the Fang tribe in West Africa, a fierce people known to be cannibals. She traipsed across Africa in a high-collared, long Victorian dress. She firmly believed a respectable woman had "no right to go about in Africa in things you would be ashamed to be seen in at home." She promptly told London feminists that she would rather have "perished on a public scaffold" than be seen in trousers. In fact, her long skirts probably saved her life when she fell into a pit dug by lion hunters. Her dress deflected the spikes intended to wound a captive lion. Mary traveled light and approached the Africans as a trader. The following "found poem" are her thoughts on African public relations.

File:Portrait of Mary Kingsley.jpg
Portrait of Mary Kingsley, circa 1900.
Mary Kingsley, African Explorer
A Found Cinquain

When you
first appear among people
who have never seen anything like
you before, they naturally regard you as
a devil.

But when
you buy or sell
something with them, they recognize
there is something reasonable and human about you
and that

if you
show yourself
an intelligent trader who knows
the price of things, they treat you
with respect.

© Doraine Bennett

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