Writer’s Poem: Race

Writer’s Poem: Race

IMG_9792

Its been a long and nerve wrecking week for me. Two more days and I get the weekend to relax, take a deep breath and either catch-up or procrastinate on all the things I need to do. Until then, we have today, a day for me to share a poem I love and I think you’d like as well. Spoiler alert, today’s poem talks about race.

Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, described the situation of a mixed race child well when she said, “The black people didn’t want them because they were white, and the white people didn’t what them because they had black blood”. This begs the question, where does this leave a mixed race child? The sad thing about this is that it is still happening today, decades after Harper Lee’s books.
The poem below introduced me to the poet, Toi Derricotte. Do take a minute and read the poem below, unhurriedly.

Passing by Toi Derricotte
A professor invites me to his “Black Lit” class; they’re
reading Larson’s Passing. One of the black
students says, “Sometimes light-skinned blacks
think they can fool other blacks,
but I can always tell,” looking
right through me.
After I tell them I am black,
I ask the class, “Was I passing
when I was just sitting here,
before I told you?” A white woman
shakes her head desperately, as if
I had deliberately deceived her.
She keeps examining my face,
then turning away
as if she hopes I’ll disappear. Why presume
“passing” is based on what I leave out
and not what she fills in?
In one scene in the book, in a restaurant,
she’s “passing,”
though no one checked her at the door—
“Hey, you black?”
My father, who looked white,
told me this story: every year
when he’d go to get his driver’s license,
the man at the window filling
out the form would ask,
“White or black?” pencil poised, without looking up.
My father wouldn’t pass, but he might
use silence to trap a devil.
When he didn’t speak, the man
would look up at my father’s face.
“What did he write?”
my father quizzed me.

Advertisements
Writer’s poem: loneliness

Writer’s poem: loneliness

image

It wasn’t my intention to post two Nikki Giovanni poems in a row, but what can I say, I saw the poem whilst scrolling through my poetry album and couldn’t wait till next week, I mean, who knows if we’ll see next week right? 

That being said, I have to agree with Nikki Giovanni when she said, this decade would be known for loneliness. I look around me and despite such a large number of people, billions of us on this earth, yet a staggering number of us are lonely. Not alone, but lonely. Below is the poem:

Cotton on a rainy day by Nikki Giovanni
Don’t look now
I’m fading away
Into the gray of my mornings
Or the blues of every night

Is it that my nails
keep breaking
Or maybe the corn
on my secind little piggy
Things keep popping out
on my face or of my life

It seems no matter how
I try I become more difficult
to hold
I am not an easy woman
to want
They have asked
the psychiatrists . . . psychologists . . .
politicians and social workers
What this decade will be
known for
There is no doubt . . . it is
loneliness.

Today’s question is from Ingrid. She asks, “What’s your secret to keeping the blog up all these years?”.

To be honest, I am surprised that I kept this blog up for all these years. It has a bit to do with the fact that I write the most, when I have a blog. I realized that when ever I take my blogging break (which lasts for months), I write very little. So being aware of that fact, helped to keep this blog going. Also, the response I’ve gotten from the community. Another thing, is the WordPress family in my niche. I have been blessed to have such an awesome community, filled with people who check up on me in my absence , people who welcome me with open arms upon my return and those who encourage me to never put the pen down. 

Writer’s Poem: Fear

Writer’s Poem: Fear

A19144CC-E077-4176-8AC3-5B24A1ACCF54

Today’s poem talks about the murder of a harmless spider. I don’t know whats it with poets and the killing of insects. Charles Lamb also wrote a poem (thoughtless cruelty) which was about killing a fly. But I digress. In this poem, Nikki Giovanni briefly contemplates the logic behind her killing of a spider who did nothing to her, except that she was frightened of it. Is her fear a valid reason to cause harm to it.

A lot of people have used this poem to talk about the happenings of today, especially, the killings of black people by some white cops based on the irrational reason of fear. They feared the black person and they shot the black person. Ridiculous, I know, but it happens, sadly. Let me know what you think about the poem below.

Allowables by Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened

On to today’s question. Tam asks: What was the inspiration behind randoms by a random?

Haha I’ve actually answered this question before. But here goes again, there was zero inspiration behind this blog. Like, I don’t even know why I started the blog in the first place, but it most definitely was not supposed to be a poetry or a mental health blog, which it is now. I think I just wanted to try my hands in so many things, inspirational writes ups and other random things. I wanted to experiment, and hence its random name “Randoms by a random”. I really need to get a better name.

I hope that answers the question. Thank you Tam.

Writer’s Poem: Aftermath of loss

Writer’s Poem: Aftermath of loss

F8210C4A-196C-46B0-BBD4-D88E7EED37F4

Writer’s poem Wednesday is back. The past few months I was away, I came across some great poems which were previously unfamiliar to me. I love striking a chord with new poetry. Today’s poem talks about a woman whose son resembles her deceased brother, both in mannerism and physically. Its a beautiful reflection of the aftermath of the death of a loved one. I hope you like it.

A drink of water by Jeffrey Harrison

When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;

and when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it’s the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don’t tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,

because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,

which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time …
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.

Writer’s Poem: Loneliness

Writer’s Poem: Loneliness

IMG_0665

Have you ever wished you could leave your loneliness behind and it would never catch up to you? I do understand, sometimes, it is one of those experiences which is part and parcel of life. But at times, loneliness stays for a longer time than it is wanted.

Loneliness is not spending the day all alone in your room. It creeps up on us and wraps it cold arms around us, regardless, if we are alone or in a crowd. No wonder, we sometimes wish we could leave it behind. Today’s poem by the phenomenal writer, Naomi Shihab Nye, touches on this same topic in a few lines. I hope you enjoy it.

The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye
A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

Writer’s Poem: The past

Writer’s Poem: The past

IMG_9785

I came across a phenomenal African Poet today. Her poem was shared by “global citizen”. It fuelled my love of poetry, reminding me of the power poetry has to revolutionise the world. It reassure me that poets are here to make a statement, an impact and as a reminder. Especially, in places where oppression is rampant whether in visible or hidden forms.

I stalked the author and found that she has a blog here. Thank you very much Zuhuru Seng’enge for your poetry.

Do not fear the past by Zuhuru Seng’enge
Do not fear the past.
It is ugly
but it is ours,
Do not hold on to lies
That you were fed when you were young.
Learn the history of your people
Find the truth
to free your soul from evil
Learn the Qur-an
Learn the bible
Find the meaning of life and religion.
Do not fear the past.
It is painful
but it is real
Blood was spilt and people died
but love and unity had survived.
Learn the tongue of your ancestors
Reconnect with the roots of your blood
Find the knowledge
That was stolen
Find the life that was robbed from us.
Do not fear the past.
Embrace it
Let it teach you the wisdom of your race
Take its lessons and live by them
Own the identity that was erased.
Do not fear the past,
Do not hate it.
Do not fear the past,
Learn about it.
Let it teach you
Let it nurture you
Let it remind you, of who you are

Writer’s Poem: The dash

Writer’s Poem: The dash

IMG_9453

One minute we are hale and hearty and the next, we are downing pills trying to make it through the night in one piece. And amidst this is “life”. Today’s writer’s poem wednesday, is a fairly popular one by Linda Ellis, she causes us to reflect upon the life we’ve lived through our journey from birth towards death.

The dash by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend,
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more,
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash,
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Linda Ellis; Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996; http://www.thedashpoem.com

Writer’s Poem Wednesday: Kailee Venzin

Writer’s Poem Wednesday: Kailee Venzin

IMG_8590

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reading the words of a fellow blogger, Kailee Venzin. It struck a chord with me. And today, I have the pleasure of sharing it with all of you, for my writer’s poem Wednesday.

Yes, I know, I should have posted a contemporary poem but this really, is a great one. I hope you enjoy. Do check out her blog for more poems at: https://innervoicewriting.wordpress.com/

I have seen the world gone mad by Kailee Venzin

I have seen the world gone mad,
seen women bolstered by deep aches
and sly “handshakes”, burning
flags and setting the world on fire.

But I feel lost,
swallowed by a fever.
I drift as if someone took a bite out of me
and spit me out into the world.
I want to stop living in fear of losing another part of myself.

I want to be a lighthouse in the city,
call all my sisters home.
I want to pull the lost ones in,
be the blanket around their trembling bodies.
I want to feel the rebound of heat
of my breath on their necks, whisper-
It’s okay to be broken.
We’re beautiful broken.

I want to be a pussy willow,
that furry young catkin
whispering on her skin.
Soothe her like
that softness did for me as a child.
I want to shout-
You don’t have to wear hard soled shoes
to walk over the rocks.
You can wait til your feet have calloused.
You can wait til your shoulders are strong enough
to hold your body upside down.
I want to take every broken child,
their butter skin between my sidewalk hands
and say-
Don’t you dare lose that
wild wonder in your eyes.
Don’t you dare forget
that strength in your pelvis,
the fervor that carried you home.
You can be broken,
Oh, so broken,
And still be strong.

Writer’s Poem: what can I say…

Writer’s Poem: what can I say…

IMG_8089

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness,
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

The above quote is one I have seen roaming on the internet for years now, always the words, never the author. I only just found our today, It was written by the Pulitzer winner and incredible poet- Mary Oliver.

I have read a lot of Mary Oliver’s poems but connected with a only few- The poem I am sharing below is one of them. But then again, my choice of Poetry is something else. Either way, reading Mary Oliver’s poems gives one the sense that she is a woman in tune with nature. She writes a lot about nature and in soothing words.

Below is the poem I chose for this week’s writer’s Poem Wednesday. I hope you like it:

What can I say by Mary Oliver

What can I say that I have not said before?
So I’ll say it again.
The leaf has a song in it.
Stone is the face of patience.
Inside the river there is an unfinishable story
and you are somewhere in it
and it will never end until all ends.

Take your busy heart to the art museum and the
chamber of commerce
but take it also to the forest.
The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
were a child
is singing still.
I am of years lived, so far, seventy-four,
and the leaf is singing still.

Writer’s quote: Mother’s love

Writer’s quote: Mother’s love

IMG_7759.JPG

Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed…

Do the above lines sound familiar? Most of us grew up reciting them. I cant remember exactly who taught me the poem, or where I was taught. Was it in school? At home? By my classmates? All I can remember is knowing the poem.

This famous poem was actually written by Ann Taylor in the 18/19th century. It was written at a time when maternal and child care was poor, and a lot of mothers would watch their children get ill and die from illnesses.

This poem reminds me of Love. I hope it takes you down memory lane…

My mother by Ann Taylor

Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My Mother.

When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who taught my infant lips to pray
And love God’s holy book and day,
And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way?
My Mother.

And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who wast so very kind to me,
My Mother?

Ah, no! the thought I cannot bear,
And if God please my life to spare
I hope I shall reward they care,
My Mother.

When thou art feeble, old and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
My Mother.

The beautiful image above is gotten from: http://www.bestsayingsquotes.com/quote/who-ran-to-help-me-when-i-fell-and-would-some-pretty-story-2003.html