by Nikki Giovanni
by Nikki Giovanni
her grandmother called her from the playground
“i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
“i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
and neither of them ever
said what they meantand i guess nobody ever does
Terrence and I worked on giving the poem a close read, writing simple sentences, and making strong points. His professor liked his essay so much she had him read it aloud to the class. Go champ!
Grandparents ought to be treated with respect no matter how young or old you are, because without them you wouldn’t exist. Staying by your grandparents’ side shows that you have strong, respectable morals. However, expressing your thoughts towards your grandparents can be very difficult.
In the short poem “Legacies,” Nikki Giovanni tells the story of a conversation between a girl and her grandmother. The grandmother had called the girl from the playground. She politely responded, “Yes, ma’am.” That illustrates the girl had respect for her grandmother.
The grandmother said to her that she wanted to make rolls together. The grandmother expresses the words “proudly,” which indicates how excited she is to teach the girl. Her grandmother is trying to make her realize it’s time to be an adult, because, if she passes away, how is the girl going to learn how to do certain things on her own?
The girl feels that she wants to stay dependent on her grandmother. If she knew how to make rolls by herself, then “when the old one died she would be less dependent on her spirit.” This quote explains the fear she has of losing her grandmother.
The girl poked out her lips saying that she didn’t want to learn how to make rolls. She keeps all of her expressions and emotions inside of her. The grandmother thought that she was being disrespectful so she wiped off her hands on the apron which shows the anger she was feeling towards the girl. The grandmother felt that nowadays kids are ungrateful for not appreciating legacy.
The sad thing about this poem is that the girl and her grandmother both feel the same thing. They both love each other. The grandmother’s way of expressing love is for her granddaughter to be independent and grow, learning how to do things on her own. The girl’s way of showing love is by depending on her grandmother by not learning how to do things on her own. The grandmother and her granddaughter fail to communicate the love for each other. Giovanni concludes the poem, “Neither of them ever said what they meant and I guess nobody ever does.”
It is hard to tell someone you love what you really feel inside. It’s even harder when there is an age difference and different mentalities. Communication between generations is very hard for this reason, and sometimes we end up hurting the people we love.
The poem touched my heart. I imagined going back to my country, Haiti, and telling my grandmother how I felt all of these years when I was silent and afraid to speak up. When I decided to tell her how happy I was to have her in my presence, it was already too late.