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Slave Girl

by Naturesweetie

Waking in the early morning

From the sun in the window

The birds “chirp chirp”

Getting dressed as my eyes are still sleeping

My family whisper and mummer with the younglings

I chase around my little brother giggling

To be scolded by my ma

My stomach is growling as I walk to breakfast late

The sweet smell of peas and cornmeal

Heading to the fields as early as I can

Yet, nothing is early enough

So I am yelled at once again

“Way down south where I was born

Roll the cotton down

I worked in the cotton and the corn

Oh, roll the cotton down”

The sun as hot as an oven

Sweating salt in the fields

The smell of cotton and tobacco lingering in the air

I sing with all my might

Listening for the caller’s next move

Cleaning clothes in the muddy river

I sew a blanket on the porch

Being yelled at for doing it wrong time and time again

I try again still frustrated

I have the urge to yell “No more!”

To be yelled at once more

Tears now stream down my face

“When I was young and in my prime

Roll the cotton down

I’d thought I’d go and join the line

Oh, roll the cotton down”

Finally am done and now on to cleaning

This room is messier than my master left it yesterday

The stench is quite revolting

Clean and clean and I am still not done

Till the kitchen is cleaned no dinner is started

Its past dark and I’m still in the kitchen

Finally done hours of pitch darkness already gone in rage

Dishes I clean into the middle of the night

Getting to bed a few hours before sunrise

Waking again in the early morning

Sun in my window

To start the day all over again

“And for a sailor caught a shine

Roll the cotton down

I joined on the ship of the Black Ball Line

Oh, roll the cotton down”

Song found on: 

Leanze, Frank. "Jazz-Then and Now." Public Bookshelf, n.d. Web.

An online book that spoke of work songs and the beginning of jazz music 

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13 Reviews

Points: 804
Reviews: 13

Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:25 pm
sugarbear wrote a review...

I really appreciated the way you used "Roll the cotton down" to bring meaning and rhythm to the story. I think having even a bit more commonality throughout would tie it together. There were a few grammatical changes that could be made to make it even better, but I really like this form of writing. I don't know if you have every read "Sold" by Patricia McCormick, but this reminds me a bit of her work (which I loved).
Keep writing- I love it!

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75 Reviews

Points: 1145
Reviews: 75

Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:58 pm
sagnik wrote a review...

the ending i cant understand. however he mid portion i truly liked .the way to explained that u r under the blazing sun people yell at u and make u work in the field. the line roll the cotton u have used too much i know u wanted to show that how frequent u were worked . but u should have used a fewer times or must have different approach to mean the same line then it would be less tedious, however the issue u caught is good when i read it in history even i felt angry for americans .was not the ending similar to the ending of uncle tom'scabin.

I wanted the poem to be broken apart, but I guess it didn't work the way I wanted it too. I had separated the stanzas but I guess something changed.
The song added was to show the songs that were sung during their work. Sorry it came out a bit confusing.
Thanks for the review!

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11 Reviews

Points: 879
Reviews: 11

Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:29 am
Despondence wrote a review...

Hello there! Dropping in for a review :3

Starting with your positives, you captured the scene of what it was like to be a slave very well. From how hard they had to work, to how they were yelled at for doing just about anything, to how they often sang to pass time while they were working. All of this was very well played out and it's an interesting theme to take on for poetry!

Going with some of your weaker points, it would help to further distinguish the song you were using from the rest of your poem. Simply putting it in quotes muddles it together, and if you made the song lines bold or put them in italics, it would have been more obvious when the singing began and your writing ended.

There didn't seem to be any grammar mistakes, although with poetry grammar is something that I chalk up to more of a style than it being a must, but leaving the starting of some lines as lowercase if you want to continue a sentence would be something that I would recommend, especially in the beginning where I would like to see some punctuation to separate some of the events at breakfast for the main character, although again it's more of a personal nitpick so I digress~

Lastly, you could have made this a teeny bit longer with more description on certain events to paint a more vivid picture. I would have liked for some actions that only got one or two lines to be told more in-depth so the feeling of being a slave would be more prominent throughout the poem.

Overall, I'd say you did a fairly decent job! Keep working on your writing skills and you'll get better in no time! Hope this review helped you in some way, never give up writing!


Thank you so much for your review! I thought I had spaced out the poem, as I did when I wrote it down on paper, not sure why it didn't work. I definitely didn't want to muddle it together. Great idea!
Poetry grammar is not my strong suit for sure.
Thank you for your review! You gave me wonderful ideas, thanks. :D

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862 Reviews

Points: 2146
Reviews: 862

Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:44 am
Griffinkeeper wrote a review...

Hi Naturesweetie!

The citation in this case isn't necessary; the song "Roll the Cotton Down" is an old sea shanty and probably was never under copyright to begin with. However, it would help a bunch if you were to italicize the song. As it stands now, it blends right in with the rest of the poem.

I just wanted to insure there wouldn't be a problem. A great idea! Thank you!

I would rather die of passion than of boredom.
— Émile Zola