Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Will's Flowers" – another poem for spring

Will’s Flowers
For David

I never yearned for snow
though brand new clothes from fat
Sears-Roebuck catalogues
committed to the U. S. post
by Uncle Lannie’s faithful hand
in Cincinnati’s never never land –
those made me glad enough.
He stayed away for years
writing Aunt V long letters
casting box after box onto
the dead slow sea-mail waters
hoarding expiring pennies
for a car a house storing
for ever after the best time
of his life. Adult and old
I never thought, “Is how
him manage foreign? Not
a wife. No family, no kin.”
And so of course I follow him…

Now when spring reach T.O.
and the wild blonde from up
the street that tend to endless
cats and her small garden
with fierce care come forth
with spade in hand to set
again this year pot upon
pot of yellow daffodils
I think how we ex-slaves
enfranchised manumitted
free of snow white queens
Britannic motherland
I think we still don’t
understand the bard’s
peregrinations and sake
of that we dis poor Will
mightily do him wrong.

Niggers still coming North
lured by the siren song
of work and decent pay
the chance to quarry out
a little life. Meanwhile
as dog nyam dog cold
carving up your carcass
vampire cops hunt you
for your dark blood this skip
of light this skemps of flower
that God promote from grass
rooted in blackness bent
on breaching ice just
pushing pushing up to
celebrate sun summer
unrepentant livity…

To rass! What a misguided fuss.
The blasted daffodils is just like us.

from Certifiable (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions) 2001.

11 comments:

FSJL said...

I see you stumble into iambic pentameter here and there ("In Cincinnati's never-never land"), the language exerting it's gravitational pull on you.

FSJL said...

And two Wills for the price of one, as well.

As to the second, and the dratted daffodils, there's, ahem, this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXbrSALG684

Lyrically speaking said...

I enjoyed reading your work thanks to Rethabile's page I was able to stumble about you, stay blessed and creative

clarabella said...

FSJL: I've slipped behind again! I guess I'm stumbling into the pentameter on account of those sonnets I'm trying to write. Yes, two will's for the price of one – if you say so! Thanks for the url. It was very funny!

clarabella said...

Hi Lyrically speaking: Thanks for stopping by. Rethabile is a wonder, isn't he? His site and Geoff's are real resources. Thanks, as well, for the good wishes. I return them, rejoicing for the gift of words and the connections they enable. Have a good week!

FSJL said...

I happen to find iambic pentameter as natural as breathing (though Maureen Warner-Lewis would probably chide me for it!). It isn't, however, a naturally Jamaican rhythm. Squirrels rapping about daffodils, now, are another matter.

sokari said...

"Niggers still coming North
lured by the siren song
of work and decent pay
the chance to quarry out
a little life."

I love these words in particular. I lived in southern Spain for a number of years and met many of the young men who cross the desert and seas to reach what often turns out to be Babylon - thats those that do not die on the high seas or are shot in the desert by Moroccan police!.

clarabella said...

FSJL: Why would Maureen chide you for that? What is a naturally Jamaican rhythm? English, as someone wisely said, is a Jamaican language. So JA Talk has a very broad compass, I'd say, and many natural rhythms!

clarabella said...

Hi sokari: Funny how what's said for one place often applies in so many others! And, as usual, I use the word 'niggers' generously (includes white folks sometimes), so it applies to the Hispanics doing, or trying to do, the Mexican border crossing. But we still keep on keeping on, trying for the opportunity to quarry out the likl life in Babylon, risking hostile deserts and seas, and vampire cops... Thanks for stopping by, and picking up the interview with Ret at blacklooks. Much appreciate the support. P&L.

FSJL said...

Maureen's written on Jamaican prosody, and suggested that the iambic pentameter is not a natural part of it. Much of what she writes about the natural rhythms of Jamaican poetics does make sense, I hasten to add.

clarabella said...

FSJL: Dennis Scott and I had a chat once about the importance of lineation in poetry. I asked him what about if you write poetry in your head, if you hear it rather than see it... The overall swoop of the sound as it ties to the meaning of the words is what matters more to me, I think, for a lot of the time I'm ignoring the line "break" at the end, which, come to think of it, is probably something dictated by an entirely non-poetic constraint... Thanks! I'll think about this more. Maybe do a post on it for OBT (Open Book Toronto) where I am WIR for May. P&L