Cassandra Bousquet

Cassandra Bousquet is 18 years old. She enjoys knitting, reading, spending time in nature, and participating in theatre and chorus. She has been writing all her life and hopes to be a successful author in the future. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Youth Climate Ambassador program put on by San Mateo County’s Office of Sustainability, San Mateo County Office of Education, Citizens’ Environmental Council of Burlingame and Peninsula Clean Energy. Her work is featured in the collaborative poem, “Breathe,” which appeared in Nature & Culture 2021 Festival Book (Copenhagen: Red Press Kulturhuset Islands Brygge & Københavns Kommune, 2021). She is continuing her climate activism through her Instagram @unitedagainstclimatechange 

Poem on Belonging

AN ARTIST

I have red hair like my mother.
My mother always told me we were magic 
And I think there is a part of me that is burning 
But it may not be my hair, it may just be the artist in me,
The light that radiates from my being, the madness that so many don’t see
The urge to write and write and write until my wrists don’t work 
The ability to fight and fight and fight until I get what I need, 
Whatever I can do to help the earth which is the best I can do for humanity.
I can talk with my eyes and I can talk with my hands,
I’ve been thinking about artists and the ones who don’t understand 
I’ve been thinking about Van Gogh and Millay and Tchaikovsky
About the beauty of their minds and the tortured colors of their lives 
In my room, hangs a poster of Vincent, and through him, I think I see

I come from lupine and buckeye, cherry-plum and blackberry 
Nasturtium, jasmine, poison oak and rosemary 
I come from a broken white bench
And a dusty, wild mountain 
I come from good friends 
And an overflowing water fountain 

I have always been me, and I’ve always known it truly
How to have a tea party, and pet flowers and find the joy
Sometimes the truth is hidden, sometimes the veil of dusk hangs too thick
Sometimes the clouds fold into each other and I find myself enmeshed in grey
And so I turn to paper and pen until the sun shines again
Until the springtime sings sweetly its farewell to cold decay

I have always been writing; it is like breathing, so I must
I have always been humming, skipping this way and that
I’ve been wondering lately, about what a human means
About being, and singing, and regrowing wings 

I have stardust in my veins or in my blood, just somewhere in there
I learned that long ago and have never forgotten that fact
When I think of who I am, I say my name; it seems to describe me well enough 
But I feel something lacking, some scent my soul is slowly sipping 
Some melody of delicate strength that is not ready to be heard yet

When I love, I am everything 
When I fear, I am nothing 
When I am angry, I am boiling 
When I am sorry, I am melting 

I am passion and pain and gold-dusted feathers
You must see me to sense me
You must read me to hear me
You must feel me to know the real me
I am wild and wonderful and very unwise
I have a tangible soul I can pull out through my eyes
I am the sun and the rain and every kind of weather 
I am everything to love and everything to despise 

I hug the trees and lie in the dirt
I say, “This is where I came from” and thank the earth for giving me life
I worry I am not worthy of it
And then remember that the leaves don’t care
The moss doesn’t even wonder why it is there 
It simply exists with the life-force of love 
I simply exist as another thread of the tapestry 
And I weave golden and tightly and connect with the others who don’t know 
I try to spread light and become part of the flow
Even if I don’t always know where to go

I have red hair like my mother. 
My mother always told me we were magic.
I stand tall on the mountain top and gleam in the sun. 
I know who I am and I know where I come from. 
I know I am an artist, lupine and buckeye, stardust in my veins. 

Copyright © 2022 by Cassandra Bousquet. Used with permission of the author.

Read Cassandra’s ecopoem, “Oceans Rising”. Cassandra is also a contributor to the collaborative poems, “Breathe” and “The Many Voices Word Karaoke”.