Voices

World Poetry Day: ‘Padre’ / ‘Father’ by Senna (featured in Girl Rising)

Girl Rising features Senna, who lives in a mountain community in Peru. While pursuing her education, she discovered her passion and talent for poetry.

The 10×10 campaign film, Girl Rising, features a teenager named Senna, who lives in a mountain community in Peru. While pursuing her education, she discovered a passion and wonderful talent for poetry.

In celebration of World Poetry Day, March 21, we bring you “Padre” (“Father”) by Senna, in Spanish and English.

*     *     *

In such a brief poem, by a young poet, I am amazed by the depth and emotion that Senna achieves in so few words. Life and death, dark and light, love and longing — these dualities knit together the poem’s thematic surface, but Senna very quickly dives deeper into the personal meanings these themes hold for her.

PADRE

¡O padre!
Tú padre, que conoces mis tristezas y
dolores, tú que entiendes la decadencia
de un cuerpo sin vida, tú que me
dabas todo un rayo de luz,

una esperanza, una ilusion …
tú, padre, que iluminas mi camino de
dolor, haz que sea menos la esperanza
de tu cariño para que me

das todo tu amor padre.
Te quiero, ya sabes que lo he dicho
mil veces, pero solo con estos pobres
versos
te puedo querer ahora.
No, nunca te olvidaré.
– (La Rinconada, junio, 2012)

FATHER

Father!
You, father, who know my sadness,
my pain, you who understand what it is
to decay in a lifeless body, you
who gave me a blazing ray of light,

a hope, a dream …
you, father, who light this path of
my pain, take this meager longing
for your affection and make it into

the full realization of your love.
I love you, you know that I’ve said it
a thousand times, but only with poor verses
such as these can I love you now.
No, I will never forget.
– (La Rinconada, June, 2012)

translated by Marie Arana

In the first stanza, Senna juxtaposes her father decaying “in a lifeless body” against “the blazing ray of light” that he gave her: life against death. But then stanza two begins, “a hope, a dream” — which turns on the image of this ray of light to mean the education her father insisted for her, which led her to discover poetry.

Now, in her father’s absence, though she told him that she loved him “a thousand times” before, she is only able to express her love to him “with poor verses such as these.” This art form, found only because of her father’s love for her, has now become her only remaining way of reciprocating that love, and through her poetry, she “will never forget” him. Every time she writes.

Girl Rising features Senna, who lives in a mountain community in Peru. While pursuing her education, she discovered her passion and talent for poetry.
Senna, La Rinconada, Peru. (Photo courtesy of 10×10 Educate Girls, Change the World)

Her poetry began as a “meager longing for your affection,” but now that this craft is the only means she has left, her words have transformed into “the full realization of your love” — her education, his gift to her, come fully to fruition.

All parents want a better life for their children. Senna’s father’s insistence upon her education transformed her life, as seen in her poetry. Through movements like 10×10 and programs like World Vision child sponsorship, children — especially girls — all around the world are discovering a chance at a better future.


Sponsor a girl today. By making a personal investment in her life, you’ll help her stay in school and avoid harmful outcomes like early marriage or exploitation. Plus, you’ll help provide her with access to the resources she needs to become a healthy, productive adult.

Girl Rising opened this month in theaters. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Richard Robbins, produced by critically-acclaimed producer Martha Adams, and narrated by world-class actresses including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez, Girl Rising tells the stories of extraordinary girls faced with unforgiving circumstances. Request a screening of Girl Rising in your city.

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