Butterfly Dance

June 27, 2010
By Amalthea SILVER, Campbellsville, Kentucky
Amalthea SILVER, Campbellsville, Kentucky
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Such lively color!
Such fluid flight!
You twirl with the grace of your namesake,
Your toes barely kiss the earth.
And I can only stand idly by,
Praying you will cast some light on me.

Your name is Diné, "The People."
I do not know what name you would have for me,
But in my own tongue I am called White—
A word which means colorless, cultureless,
Never mind that my eyes are almonds,
That my grandmother was Filipina;
Never mind that I turn copper in the summertime
Because somewhere way back I am Tsalagi.
No, never mind all that; it does not matter.
They still call me White.

You may think me ignorant.
It is true that I do not possess talent such as yours.
You have such a light step because of your heritage;
Your ancestors make you free.
I, however, am White—
Colorless, cultureless,
I have no ancient stories,
My people are lost to me.

But if I am truly white,
If I am blank like paper,
Then fill me up with yourself,
Write on me what you will.
Could you lend me a bit of your turquoise
And teach me how to dance—
Paint me over like an empty canvas
So maybe I could be beautiful, too?

The author's comments:
I wrote this poem after watching some traditional Navajo dancing at the Grand Canyon. It's sort of a testament to what you learn about others--and about yourself--while traveling. I hope it will encourage people to travel themselves, if they can; it's a big world out there, and there are so many amazing things to see.

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