lundi, mars 19, 2007

Les portes du souvenir


I am 23 years late with this but Oliver is a beast and salute to Sister Bisi for sharing this poem in writing workshop.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Here, I could do without the flora and fauna (I find the portion from the first "meanwhile" to "again" rather blah). I’m from the Northwest, my mama lives in a neighborhood called Lake Forest Park, my dad lives in Shoreline, I grew up camping, I've hiked through Washington's Alpine Lake wilderness and along Hong Kong's Sai Kung Peninsula but natural imagery comes off contrived and bees and things and flowers still generally read white. Sugarcane, cotton, and indigo are an altogether different matter. In fact, I sent up a prayer 4 years ago today in remembrance of them (pictured above), in the Dominican Republic, as my shuttle drove through fields of azúcar de caña to get to our all inclusive hotel where white tourists mistook me and my half British cousin for Dominicans despite the Coach resort bags and Barney's hand crafted flip flops and the Dominicans mistook us for Dominicans because of the brown skin. My mother's stress at our ill-timed travel was only compounded by the sudden death of her older brother several continents away. So Ashé. For Uncle Ari and the ancestors.

Of a different sort, K. Anthony Appiah writes in this past weekend's New York Times magazine. The piece seems indulgent and unselfconsciously privileged until the end, which is abrubt, but it's worth it. And since we're talking about Africans and sugarcane, Les Nubians will be at SOB's on the 1st.
"Now let me tell you something. It's all about my own thing. Now I know what's sweet. Yeah, yeah. I know what is sweet as sugarcane."

Tags: , &