Canarian Woman – Fighting the Good Fight

When I was 24 I left Austin for Spain. I spent most of my time on the mainland, but I did stop first at my grandmother’s homeland- The Canary Islands. I went for two main reasons; one, to fulfill my dream of learning Spanish and two, to find out if I was not more of a Spaniard than an American. I think I am more Spanish at heart, with their carefree lifestyle and community being the core of their existence, but the rest of me is definitely American, whatever that might mean in this lost place.

The islands are a very romantic place to call your heritage. And my grandmother- Naní – still dreams of returning to what remains of her cueva home. For me, I thought the best way to keep this heritage alive was to bring it here, share it as part of a living legacy. So, Canarian Woman was born.

I imagine canaries to be the gentlest of songbirds and that is their strength- ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.’ They also sing  sweetly to the heavens-‘Oh, screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-5-18-31-amcome! Let us sing to the Lord. Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!’- and are the color of sunlight- ‘The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.’ In my mind’s eye, I imagine life on this sad planet Earth to be a kind of oppressive cage, so the famous Maya Angelou poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” fits nicely, too. 

I’m not sure what will become of this artistic alter ego I’ve created. I dream of something big. Like Ella being known as The First Lady of Song, I would be Crystal Fulbright The Canarian Woman. It would become part of my identity.

The cover photo of this journal entry was taken on the island my grandmother grew up on,  El Hierro,  the smallest of all the tiny islands. The origins of the islands’ name vary, some say “strong” others “a spring” or “the iron one.” All these names imply, small yet strong. It was taken by my 10 year old sister (at the time), Marissa Fulbright.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

 

 

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