Reading

Where I'm From

In her poem, Melanie Poonai reflects on her identity, and all the factors that have helped shape who she is.  
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This resource is intended for educators in Canada who are teaching in English.

At a Glance

Reading

Language

English — CA

Subject

  • English & Language Arts
  • Democracy & Civic Engagement

In the poem below, Melanie Poonai, a schoolgirl from Harrow, reflects on her identity, and all the factors that have helped shape who she is.

I am from a life filled with colour,

From the chocolate brown that is my skin.

I am from the sunshine yellow of my mother’s laugh,

From the red and white of my brother’s favourite football shirt.

I am from the crisp new white pages of a book,

From the miserable grey of the street I live on.

I am from green, pink and yellow; My garden in summer filled 

with flowers,

From the terrifying black of the nightmares that haunt me.

I am from the ginger orange of my buried cat,

From the blue and gold of my ever-short school tie.

I am from the dark oak of my grandmother’s coffin,

From the golden “Aum” pendant around my neck.

I am from every pink scar etched into my body,

From the red, orange and brown of a hot curry.

I am from every identical colour of the twins I love,

From the blue and green of a hospital ward.

I am from all that has happened,

And all that will be. 1

  • 1Melanie Poonai, ‘Where I’m From’ (2007), The Poetry Society. Melanie Poonai’s poem Where I’m From was a winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award in 2007, and first published by The Poetry Society. Reproduced with permission.

How to Cite This Reading

Facing History and Ourselves, "Where I'm From," last updated August 11, 2020.

The resources I’m getting from my colleagues through Facing History have been just invaluable.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif