I am Henry “Box” Brown

Where I’m From

a poem written by Lynne Dorfman using the mentor text, “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon.

Where I’m From and other poems by George Ella Lyon.

I come from Costa Rica and Malaysia.

I come from the Andes Mountains.

I come from Ecuador and West Africa.

I come from tropical regions.

I come from a pond near your backyard.

I like to be warm and wet.

I am Amphibian.

I am Frog.

Hear my song.

I come from googly-eyed ancient ancestors,

Creatures who hopped, swam, and crawled on Earth.

I come from a past of millions of years.

Will I have a future?

I come from shrinking forests.

I come from shrinking wetlands.

I am Amphibian.

I am Frog.

Hear my song.

I come from a polluted world.

I can die from a fungus on the lily pads.

Sometimes, I am hunted for food.

Sometimes, I am hunted for medicines.

The health of my population is important.

It tells you about the health of the planet we share.

I am Amphibian.

I am Frog.

Hear my song.

From mentor text “Where I’m From” written by the fifth graders at UMIS.

I am a slave…

I want to be free…

Hear my story.

I am unaware of my birth date;

I don’t even know how old I am.

I worked at the big house,

Worked for my master

And was traded to his son.

I am slave…

I want to be free…

Hear my cry!

Torn from my family

Like leaves from the trees.

I married a girl named Nancy,

And had three children.

My heart, twisted like tobacco leaves,

My wife and children were sold,

Sold at the slave market.

I am a slave…

I want to be free…

Hear my dream!

Knowing I’d never see my family again,

I mailed myself to Philadelphia.

Inside a wooden box, I wait…

Wait to breathe freedom,

Wait to be free from slavery,

Wait for a new start.

My new name – Henry “Box” Brown.

I am not a slave anymore

I am free like the birds…

I finally have a birthday…

Hear my song!

I am Henry Box Brown,

I am waiting for a different world,

I am waiting for something more than freedom for myself,

I am waiting for understanding, equality, justice….

I am waiting for America to get it right.

I am still waiting.

Source: Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad  by Ellen Levine