THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
INAUGRATION DAY POEMS from North Carolina Poets: GLENIS REDMOND & LAURA HOPE-GILL
(Laura Hope-Gill and Glenis Redmond, from Jeff Davis's Blog, Natures, naturespoetry.blogspot.com)
Laura and Glenis read the following poems at the Inaguration Day celebration held at UNC-Asheville a week ago.
CIRCLE OF EVERYTHING
In this moment there is everything to say. In this moment there is nothing to say. So let the poet speak, for the poet is carved for moments like this equipped for sorrow and celebration, for the poet gives the heart its mouth blood to warm the hour.
This hour wants a poem, held in a song fueled by the heat of wings, something akin to flight, wrapped in grit fashioned by the mouth of Goree.
Not to speak to the heart, but give the heart life. Forget the high octave perfect pitch give us Mahalia, Nina, Odetta, Miriam Makeba or Fannie Lou’s sweat to complete the arc of this moment, not just a beautiful thing but a soulful moan that has everything in it, a circle drawn with light and shadow delivering:
curse and prayer cure and poison heat and chill root and branch core and meat drink and thirst
Geometry’s incantation that holds faint and swell.
Let the circle be drawn. Let the circle be a raw voice that pierces the rooftop of heaven shakes the rafters and Gabriel’s hand but also graces the ground beneath the feet of the migrant worker igniting hope in each and every weary step.
Let the circle be a voice that suspends strong wide, a woven bridge linked to the past tied to the place King talked about:
the fierce urgency of now. Let us see that all the soil has not been tilled but with rake and shovel, hoe and axe we can get beyond the surface locate our circumference of we.
In this uncanny loop of hands and hearts let us find the power from the realm of angels and ancestors to blend our Oh Say Can You See to our Lift Every Voice and Sing histories. Let us embrace our complicated gorgeous mess of a country, built upon Native American and slave massacres.
Let us excavate and examine our contradictions: hold to the light the slave hands on white house slabs see it not as a cornerstone but a circle with everything in it.
Let us locate the moments hope died in texas and tennessee Let this day be an exorcism to rid the bad spirits.
Let us be filled with a holy heat Let Odetta, Nina, Miriam, Mahalia and Fannie Lou sing to that roundness in our chest gives us the courage to go with soul find the music that makes us the poemsong of our lives,
jarring and soothing pumping with potential not to wreck our world with division but open
ourselves in a terrific circle wide with holding tender and fierce hearts
holding like this land holding like the world everything in it.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Neighbourhood Ball in Washington DC. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters
OLD --for Michele and Barack Obama
He has grown into an old man, Even older than Mandela did who also did The remarkable thing simply by doing the only
Thing he could do. Be. His hair is longer now, not fully gray. It is as though he has stopped time the same way
Anyone who changes the course of history holds a power over time.
He stands tall, still, Dressed, as always in his best Because that is what his grand-mother taught him.
He remembers every single one Of her lessons because she gave them in the Soft language she knew could shape a man from the inside.
His wife is old now, too, and she Still holds him to her every word and to his Word and to the words of the world. She is his weaver
And he is her web. Their love forms A constellation of stars all the places they walk. It lights the path. Two presidencies down, they still talk mostly of their daughters who are
Grown and do not recall A time when either a woman or a person with dark Skin could not make a home of the White House or any other house
For that matter. The years Have been good to them. The nation, grateful. They have served and they continue to serve, traveling.
They always hold hands. They still have That smile for each other they’ve kept going Since college. It has been a good life for both of them.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.