The Cocoa Bean Strikes Back!

The Industrial Revolution changed the way we did … well, everything. Much debate has surrounded these “innovations,” and their true effect on our quality of life. The integrity of humanity came into question and, since Marx, the ethical ramifications of production have never left the world stage. Today, thanks to one of Badgerdog’s summer camp writers, we offer yet another perspective on this moment of history. First, you’ll find Shea Li’s poem is a delightful, extended example of personification. (What would a cocoa bean say? How would it write a poem?) More than that, this writer’s poem offers a fascinating and fresh perspective that fits nicely into a contemporary theme. How does the cocoa bean feel about its cheapening through mass production? We certainly cannot ask it, but Shea Li imagines the result (a rather indignant bean!). This instance of animism is incredibly enjoyable and also profoundly thoughtful.

The Abused Cocoa Bean

I used to be the sacred cocoa bean
I was the finest plant of my age
I was only drunk by great leaders or gods
I was served in pure gold cups and golden wrappers
Even the most valuable items quivered in my
Presence, but not so much as to
Make my flavor shake!

I was a sacred cocoa bean but
These days I feel abused
I am passed around in ordinary mugs and
The dishes in the sink laugh, saying
I go down the drain because
I am not as valuable as they are
I am made by noisy yip yap machines
No longer by fine Aztec hands
This is a sad and abused cocoa bean
Telling you this, so next time
You drink me think about my
Savory flavor! I am a sacred cocoa bean.

Shea Li, fifth grade, Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp at Hope Presbyterian Church

7 thoughts on “The Cocoa Bean Strikes Back!

    • Your insight and that of our dear cocoa bean’s shed so much light on how we can so easily forget the true value of all the gifts of our world. I will always think of this when I sip each golden cup of coffee. From the mouths of babes . . . thanks Shea Li.


  1. Wow Shea Li! I am so proud of you! You go girl! Keep writing my love! Your written works of art are gifts to the world. We love you! Mama

  2. Shea Li, your writing is so eloquant. I loved reading and hearing your story. I hope your love for writing continues so that we can be blessed with it for years.

  3. Wow! I savor a good cup of coffee in the morning, but now I have rekindled respect for this most noble of beans thanks to Shea Li’s insightful poetry. Keep up the good work! Awesome perspective!!!!!

  4. There’s more to appreciate about the cocoa bean and more to learn and love about and Shea Li! Both have such potential to make the world a better place!

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