A Lesson for This Sunday- Derek Walcott

For some strange reason, my latest posts have not been showing up. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the app or just some sheer craziness but I have had to start composing on my laptop again which is a bit frustrating. Today’s post is another piece by Derek Walcott that I simply fell in love with this past weekend. In light of how hot it’s been in North Carolina recently, I felt that this was the perfect time to share this piece. The image seemed perfect to accompany the poem too. Even though it’s not quite summer yet. As always, I hope you enjoy.

sand-instagram-or-facebook-post

 

The growing idleness of summer grass

With its frail kites of furious butterflies

Requests the lemonade of simple praise

In scansion gentler than my hammock swings

And rituals no more upsetting than a

Black maid shaking linen as she sings

The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—

Since I lie idling from the thought in things—

 

Or so they should, until I hear the cries

Of two small children hunting yellow wings,

Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.

Brother and sister, with a common pin,

Frowning like serious lepidopterists.

The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.

Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays

She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.

The lesson is the same. The maid removes

Both prodigies from their interest in science.

The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream

As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.

She is herself a thing of summery light,

Frail as a flower in this blue August air,

Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.

 

The mind swings inward on itself in fear

Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.

Heredity of cruelty everywhere,

And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,

The long look back to see where choice is born,

As summer grass sways to the scythe’s design.

Wordsmith


Some people say they’re just words

Like words aren’t perfectly formed arrows

Shot from lips, pens and fingertips 

As if only sticks, stones and bullets are capable of inflicting pain. 

They think words don’t bruise souls or tear down self-esteem. 

They probably don’t even read since they can only see “just words.”

Words form sentences, breathe life into characters, and create worlds

Words lay the cornerstone of communication 

Tell your story, pour out your feelings all over this world cause

The world needs more storytellers. More imagination. More words. 

Some people don’t respect the power of words until they are directed towards them.

Spring Poem For the Sake of Breathing, Written After a Walk to Foster Island- James Masao Mitsui

Today, I’m sharing a piece written by one of my former poetry professors. I have a volume of his poetry in my collection and coming across this piece made me decide to spend more time with his works. 

Hope you all enjoy! 



The sky wants the water to turn grey,

but if I notice how waves

 

play with the clumps of yellow flags,

or the way turtles share logs,

 

or even try to understand a friend’s decision

to walk onto a glacier

 

and end her life—I will be ready

for any poems that have been waiting.

 

The horizon opens as I walk,

escorted by swans and Canada geese.

 

I need to stop backpedaling into the present.

In my old life people would straighten

 

the truth, but the river

flows in curves.

 

The names of my father and my mother

rest next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery.

 

The distance between me and the mountains

measures an uneven thought: I feel like an orphan.

 

An early moon is just a piece of change

in the softening sky.

 

Light is such an actress. Time to seek

Hopper’s wish to simply paint sunlight

 

on the wooden wall of a house. I am growing

older. Maru in Japanese means

 

the ship

will make it back home.

Elegy for my Husband- Toi Derricotte

As a poet who often writes grief poetry, Toi Derricotte’s “Elegy for my Husband” struck a chord in me that I am still battling with. Some poets are able to craft elegies that give you glimpses into their grief but also manage to give you insight into who the person they are mourning was. They manage to convey just who and what they lost and this poem does that very well.  This poem is an amazing testament to those who work to build elegies and to mold their grief into words.

 

wordle

 

Bruce Derricotte, June 22, 1928 – June 21, 2011

 

What was there is no longer there:

Not the blood running its wires of flame through the whole length

Not the memories, the texts written in the language of the flat hills

No, not the memories, the porch swing and the father crying

The genteel and elegant aunt bleeding out on the highway

(Too black for the white ambulance to pick up)

Who had sent back lacquered plates from China

Who had given away her best ivory comb that one time she was angry

Not the muscles, the ones the white girls longed to touch

But must not (for your mother warned

You would be lynched in that all-white Ohio town you grew up in)

Not that same town where you were the only, the one good black boy

All that is gone

Not the muscles running, the baseball flying into your mitt

Not the hand that laid itself over my heart and saved me

Not the eyes that held the long gold tunnel I believed in

Not the restrained hand in love and in anger

Not the holding back

Not the taut holding

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled

This piece is a rarity written by me because it’s untitled right now. I’m going to be tweaking it a bit and rewording some of the lines to add more depth. It is a rough version of what it will be but I still wanted to share it.

You want to put a spell on me

Like your name is Nina or you 

Can conjure the blues greats 

But I’m immune

My people talk the fire out of burns,

read dreams,

and see dead people. 

There is no magic you can weave 

strong enough

to break generations 

of bindings

to rip the ties that bind 

Sarah and Lymon’s 

blood coursing through these veins.

My people wove dreams from land

ripe with cotton, scuppernong vines and sweet potatoes.

They poured sweat into the future 

and brought forth

their own brand of magic.

Look for Me-Ted Kooser

I apologize for slacking this past week, I had poems selected to share and didn’t have them drafted the way I should have. I rarely ever slack like that during National Poetry Month so I am posting twice today to end on a strong note. This poem is by U.S Poet Laureate Ted Looser and he shared it in celebration of his 87th birthday. 


Look for me under the hood

of that old Chevrolet settled in weeds
at the end of the pasture.

I’m the radiator that spent its years
bolted in front of an engine
shoving me forward into the wind.

Whatever was in me in those days
has mostly leaked away,
but my cap’s still screwed on tight
and I know the names of all these
tattered moths and broken grasshoppers
the rest of you’ve forgotten.

What Do You Call It?- Write Azaglo

Poetry is more than words. It is a force for change, the song of our souls, a call to action, a means to claim pride, or to capture a moment. Sometimes, the voice of the poet is so powerful that it leaps off the page! That’s what happened with this piece. I am proud to share with you the words of one of my favorite poets, Write Azaglo. This piece first appeared on her Instagram and I begged her to let me share it here. 

Hope you enjoy! 

What do you call it 

When they bottle up your blackness too

and place your body in the hands of white supremacy?

As if it was supposed to soothe their hunger for peace

Like they didn’t cause it to starve in the first place 

Like we ‘pos to just cheer on another black body being handed to  the police

For them to drink

For them to consume

For them to destroy 

Like we have smiles on our faces when we mourn

Like we don’t have tombstones written at the bottom of our soles

What do you call it?