689. Mi Tera (My Land) by Philip A. Rademaker

Poem and translation by Philip A. Rademaker, first published in “Bos di buriku”. Photos by Rita Mendes-Flohr, check out her stunning blog for more.

In Papiamentu —

Mi tera

Mi tera ta un pais

di hérue di bròns

i misa merikanu,

di atrako na spañó

i flanè na ingles,

kaminda putanan tin nòmber di la birgi

i ku weter i kachó tin ku papia hulandes.

I tòg mi tera,

ta mi tera.


Mi tera ta úniko lugá

kaminda esnan k’a faya

den otro tipo di trabou

ta bira periodista,

polítiko òf predikadó

pa lusa nos kaminda

ku nan eksperiensha.

Pero asina mes mi tera,

ta mi tera.


I maske tur su palmanan

a bini den kònteiner

i su monumentonan

ta batrei sin bolo aden

pa dòrna fiest’i mandatario

k’a bin fo’i otro lugá

bin goberná ku regla kla

diktá te na Ulanda,

bisami. Kon mi por tribi ninga

ku ta mi tera e ta?


I si su muebelnan ‘i mahòk

a barka pa Oropa

i tur piská den su laman

ta biba bò’i kòntròl,

i si oroplanu merikanu

ta uz’é pa spioná

i tur su bukinan t’abrí

pa otro kontrolá,

i maske e ta poteká

na IMF k’Ulanda,

tòg, ta mi ter’e ta.


I si mi tera tin un lenga

ku bo n’ por siña na skol,

i si su leinan ta na idioma

di otro nashon skirbí,

i si su yunan pokopoko

sin sa ta korumpí

su poesia, su muzik

pa lusi i kompetí,

tòg eseinan n’ por stroba sí

ku den e kurason akí

kontra tur lei, tur lógika,

tur dia atrobe un krenchi mas,

mi tera

ta mi tera.


In English —

My Land

My land is a country

of bronze heroes

and American churches,

of holdups in Spanish

and t-shirts in English,

where prostitutes are named after the Virgin

and to waiters and dogs one has to speak Dutch.

And yet my land,

is my land.

My land is the only land

where those who have failed

in everything else they’ve tried

become journalists,

politicians or preachers

to pave our path

with their experience.

And even so my land,

is still my land.

And though all her palm trees

arrive in containers

and her monuments

are empty husks of fancy cakes

to celebrate policymakers

who hail from other places

to govern with strict Dutch-made rules

Tell me, how dare I deny

that this land really is my land?

And if her traditional furniture

is now displayed in Europe

and if all the fish in her sea

live under a watchful eye,

and if American airplanes

take off from her to spy

and all her ledgers

are under scrutiny,

and even if she’s mortgaged

to Holland and the IMF,

this still remains my land.

And if the language of my land

is still not taught in school,

and if her laws are written in a language

that is not her own,

and if her children inadvertently corrupt

her music and her poetry

to show off and compete,

still, in this undeterred heart

against all law, all logical thought

but every day a little more,

my land

is my land.

Philip A. Rademaker.

Philip A. Rademaker.

Philip A. Rademaker also known as ‘Fifi Rademaker’ is an Otrobandista-turned-Westpuntero. He paints. He writes. He collects. He ponders the truth.

He’s a yu di Kòrsou ‘te den su higra’. 

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Philip Rademaker


  2. Jean-Marie Taylor

    Thank you for this website. My husband and I fell in love with Curacao during our first visit, and bought a house that week, six years ago. We can only spend about three months a year there (broken up into several visits) and I’m fascinated with learning more and more about the island, its peoples and cultures, so your posts are always a welcome site in my email.

  3. Dulce

    What a beautiful poem. It tells what logic and reason can not understand.

  4. Permitimi dirigi mi mes na bo persona ku e palabra : hermano.
    Realmente un plaser pa mi por disfruta di un di bo mehor poesianan.
    Nos dos tin algu komun esta mi tambe ta gusta skibi den bo estilo ,gusta photografia y pinta, aunque no bon manera bo.

    P’ esei e palabra hermano tin mas peso.

  5. Pingback: 639. Ode to Papiamentu by Philip A. Rademaker | 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao

  6. Ilse Olieman-Gietel

    Masha Danki,
    E palabranan skohi den e poezia aki ta laga sinti Kiko ta hasi ku ami tambe ta un jiu di Corsow.
    Mi no por pensa di un manera mas eloquento ku Senor Fifi Rademaker, di splika Nos Tera.
    Mi Tera e ta den nos higra, pa leeuw ku mi ta Dushi Corsow ta Keda mi Isla!
    Masha Danki, un biaha mas.

    Manera Sra Dulce sTa bisa: “It tells what logic and reason cannot understand”.
    Uit het verre Oosten, Ilse

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