639. Ode to Papiamentu by Philip A. Rademaker

Poem and translation by Philip A. Rademaker, first published in “Bos di buriku”Photos by Philip A. Rademaker as well.

Mi Lenga Papiamentu

Mi lenga t’e kabuya largu

ku ta mara bark’i mi spiritu

n’e waf pisá di realidat

i dun’é tòg basta brasa

p’e balia na su antoho

riba ol’i fantasia.


Mi lenga t’e kantika nobo

ku tur anochi mi ta drumi soña

pa su mainta mi por lanta kanta

su frasenan di anhelo di pena,

di rabia hundu i di goso hanchu,

di desepshon i fe.


Mi lenga ta esensia di mi tera

Mes duru k’e baranka di su kosta,

mes fini k’e spat’i awa ku ta mu’é,

kontentu manera kanto’i su chuchubi

i tristu maner’e solo ku ta baha

laga hende ku stim’é leu fo’i nan kas


Mi lenga ta koló di flor di anglo

i kayente meskos k’e tera kòrá

den kua lagadishi, nèkdo mané mi lenga

ta skirbi paskin ku su rabu

pa kaba, kore skonde den tranké di datu

ku si nan por a papia, l’a reda na mi lenga.


N’e leng’aki mi mama a nami lechi,

i ta n’e leng’aki mes m’a der’é

T’e mesun leng’aki a siña mi yunan

para riba nan pia, distingui

E leng’aki a siñami habri alma

Tin kos mas riku pa mi laga nan kuné?


My Language Papiamentu

My language is the long rope

That secures the ship of my spirit

To the stable dock of reality

And yet gives it enough slack

to dance as it desires

on the waves of imagination


My language is the song

That I dream to every night

so when I wake up I can sing

her verses of longing and suffering,

Of deep anger and wide delight,

Of faith and deception


My language is the essence of my land

As solid as the rocks that form its coast

As delicate as the drizzle that moistens its soil

Happy like the mockingbird’s song

And sad like each day’s sunset

longing for those far from home


My language is the color of the anglo flower

hot like red earth

upon which lizards, jokers like my language,

Write naughty letters with their tails

And run to hide in the cactus fence

if they could talk, they’d gossip in my language


I was fed this language at my mother’s breast

And I buried my mother in this very language

It is this language that has taught my children

To distinguish themselves and stand tall in life

This language taught me to open up my soul

Could I leave them anything more precious than that?

Fifi 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’. 

See also: #689. Mi Tera (My Land) by Philip A. Rademaker


About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...


  1. Hopi bunita Fifi,pero fuera di otrabandista nos ta Karnavalista te den nos higra
    Hubert Pop

  2. Cheryl Rademaker Bernardi

    My name is Cheryl Rademaker Bernardi. My father’s father’s family is from Curaçao, though my father was born in Brooklyn, NY. It is my hope to learn more about my origins and about the family that I have never met.

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