Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Poets Speaking Beauty (a poem)

sunset or sunriseI constantly debate whether I should add some of my old work to the Net after having deleted so much of it more than a year ago. The quandary relates to my wrestling with myself about what this blog, WSATA, should be, and I suppose by extension I am still wrestling with who I am post-divorce and since my return to Louisiana.

Lately, an old poem that I removed from the web has been on my mind. After the recent terrorism in Mumbai, the trampling death of that temporary Walmart worker on Black Friday, hearing of a recent racist newsletter by students who should know better at Princeton, my disgust at how people watched Abraham Biggs kill himself, and the recent reminder of the Megan Meier tragedy, I've decided to put up again "The Poets Speaking Beauty."

Yes, we have hope. Barack Obama won the presidency, but we still have much work to do on matters such as poverty, the economy, the environment, violence, war, and tolerance. For instance, we're not as post-racial in America yet as some would like to believe as the Princeton Theological Seminary incident shows, Rush Limbaugh's ability to keep a following indicates, and the recent KKK murder of one of its own recruits tells us. Also, you may have heard that a case challenging Obama's presidency is on its way to the Supreme Court. Two people say he's not really a natural-born citizen because his father was Kenyan, and therefore, they believe his election violates the U.S. Constitution. I suspect the two would say they aren't challenging his presidency for racist reasons, but I think otherwise.

Despite stupid people, I look for silver linings whenever I can such as the Princeton Theological Seminary response to its misguided students, the resilience of the human spirit after a terrorist incident, and how many of us work with all our hearts to do the right thing. I wrote this poem in 2006 as the world watched Darfur and Americans heard news that a woman had cut a baby from another woman's womb and drowned her other children. This summer the woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but we still don't know why she murdered her lifelong friend and killed the children. I doubt there's a human cure for cruelty, despair, and confusion, but we must always try to overcome our evils and never underestimate the power of our thoughts and words because first we think or speak, then we do.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true , whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. (Phillipians 4:8)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)

The Poets Speaking Beauty
(listen to spoken word file and read old reviews)
by Nordette Adams.
Sunday, September 24, 2006

The poets must dream beauty.

Ugly,
the truth of man,
crawls a nightmare in the day,
laden with hideous creatures, bold and truculent,
breathing Earth's undoing--
the streams polluted, rain forests raped,
godless prayers and chanting hate,
children's corpses left unburied, strewn at the cities' gates,
the zombie throng, the witless masses,
and kings swaying to the clatter of bones--
Wisdom deprivation.
The poets must dream beauty against
annihilation.

The poets must eat beauty.
Wherever finding the plump golden fruit
seize and gobble, chew and churn,
cogitate, regurgitate beauty.

The ugly swells churlish yet giddy with glee,
overshadowing charity with greed,
obese with the hearts of skinny dreamers slain.
It rolls through the woods and over
the plains of man's festering wounds,
the flies and worms its dessert.
So the poets must eat beauty,
chew, cogitate, regurgitate beauty
over blighted plains and into
the darkened wood,
into Earth's streams and her prayers and her open sores,
into the ripped seams of humanity.

The poets ...
The poets.
The poets must ink beauty
into the skins of souls,
from crown to toe tattoo Divine,
purple curlicues of beauty.

Everyday with relentless piercings,
the ugly's inked a heinous scarlet,
the blood of junkies young and younger stabbing needles into veins,
dealers dealing guns, crack cocaine,
drive-by shootings where toddlers play,
Baghdad bombings, London blasts, Ground Zero-shrouded memories
seething prophecies of a mushroom cloud from oil,
and global warming because we're spoiled with convenience,
in love with SUVs,
yet relinquish freedom to bubble wrap of fear-factoring authorities.
We waltz to the white noise of terrorist shit and domestic abominations,
signs of not the times but our madness,

like that woman who murdered that mother and carved that baby
from the womb like a Sierra Leone butcher or a Darfur slayer.
She grew horns and hooves and drowned her sister's children.

The ugly's inked graffiti onto man's tomb,
making proper the grave.

The poets must speak beauty.

Ugly rots man's mouth.
Who must speak its stench?
And only the blind fail to see
the truth of man's depravity.
So, the poets must dream, eat, and ink beauty.
Poets must speak beauty until Beauty comes to feast.

Copyright © 2006 Nordette Adams

2 comments:

Blue State Cowgirl said...

I am touched by your poem.Thank you for posting it. I good answer for anyone who thinks poetry is irrelevant in today's society. Your post made me pull out one of my favorite books: Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy, edited by her daughter. It's a fabulous collection with everyone from Langston Hughes to Robert Frost. I used to keep it by my bedside and read and reread a poem every night. Time for that tradition to be revived.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

Thank you for this poem!

The Princeton Theological Seminary response was clear in its denounciation of the "racist and malicious" content of the newsletter....however...the issue remains that for the seminarians involved to have even LAUNCHED this type of hatred, what is the climate in that environment?

What made them act anonymously if they felt that their actions were NOT racist?

PTS issued a statement SIX DAYS after the incident...not on the day of the incident. I believe that PTS issued a statement because their phone lines have been burning up and they are attempting to thwart a public relations nightmare.

But I digress...

This poem is poignant and deeply reflective.

Continue to give us more!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa