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The Tale of the China Poblana

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There's enough material in the legend of the China Poblana to make at least a movie, if not a mini-series. I'm surprised Hollywood hasn't picked up on the story. This poem covers only a small part. She was revered almost as a saint in Mexico before the Inquisition put the kibosh on it.

Jarabe tapatío in the Plaza Castillo
Girls dance in the Mexican night
The floral bouquets of their dresses ablaze
A rainbow of colors so bright

But it wasn't so, such a long time ago
When dances had little such drama
So stay for a spell and you'll hear the tale 
Of the lovely China Poblana

This Rajputi princess delighted the senses
So flawless in every way
In sari and shawl, just thirteen and small
She strolled by the seaside one day

Her biggest regret, she could never forget
That morning when she was taken
By pirates abducted, escaped but corrupted
And then by her betrothed forsaken 

Sad and contrite, Meera fled in the night
Where a mission took her in care
With dear Father Xavier, she accepted our Savior
And passed all her evenings in prayer

But it was for naught, for again she was caught
By the Portuguese pirates once more
And despite being brave was sold as a slave
In Manila to serve as a whore

No one could foretell her of the fate that befell her
Or know that her tears were in vain
As the captain who bought her, saw in Meera a daughter
For his childless friends in New Spain

On the trip she was clad disguised as a lad
To hide from the sailors' desire
But when she arrived, her silks were revived
And she was dressed in her finest attire

In sari and shawl, this exotic doll
Made a stir in Puebla that day
Women were gawking, and couldn't stop talking
Of her Indian garments so gay

She started a fashion, to this day still a passion
Of Mexican feasts and folklore
For the dresses they wear to dance on the square
Are based on the garments she wore

And the name of the dress, you won't have to guess
And you won't have to wait till mañana
'Tis the self-same as her little nickname
They call it the China Poblana

They'll tell you forthwith of mysteries and myth
And the pious beautiful maiden
In holy nirvana she saw Christ and Madonna
'Twas the burden with which she was laden

The charros are dashing, the sequins are flashing
In Puebla they dance on the square
In each tap and each twirl, trips a Rajputi girl
But of this they are scarcely aware

And nearby in the temple, serene, white, and simple
In the sacristy, near a Madonna
Flowers are laid for the Indian maid
At the tomb of the China Poblana

N.B - In colonial Mexico a "chino or china" was any person from the orient.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2013

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Date: 6/25/2014 4:11:00 PM
I enjoyed this amazing, colorful story so well-written! Congratulations on your top win which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. BRAVO!
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Date: 6/25/2014 1:48:00 PM
exotic tale so richly done, roy.. sweet congrats!.. huggs
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Date: 12/19/2013 1:39:00 PM
Hello Roy. Congratulations, and thank you for supporting the Ballad contest.... Forever- Linda
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Date: 12/18/2013 6:49:00 PM
What a vibrant tale! Happy Holidays Light & Love
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Date: 12/17/2013 8:18:00 PM
Enjoyed very much the tale of a Rajputi girl called Meera, an Indian name and Indian community Rajput. The name Meera brings to my memory a great poetess from Rajputana who devoted her life to Lord Krishna, It's an epic type of poem. Thanks for sharing it.,Roy
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Roy Jerden
Date: 12/17/2013 8:32:00 PM
Thanks, Ram! Her story is much bigger than what is covered in this poem, but if I did it all, it would have become "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in length.