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Thursday, January 29, 2009

INAUGRATION DAY POEMS from North Carolina Poets: Aretha's Hat


(Ron Edmonds / AP / January 20, 2009)



ARETHA'S HAT

(for doris, on her birthday)

I Praise Aretha’s Hat
because nobody else
but Aretha could wear it,
nobody else with a hat
up there on the stage
that I saw
with the wind whipping round
like a whiplash,
an apron sash,

like a whole lot of ash
we are scattering now
to the wind
saying rise up you
dry bones,
you burned-down
to the ground slave cabins,
all of you out in the cotton fields
I saw, little girl
passing by
in my Mama’s big car.

I Praise Aretha’s hat
because nobody else
could wrap round
her head such a swag-
gering "Here I am
and you out there
listening
to me, you had
better be, too,
because
my country, ‘tis
of thee is the reason
I’m here, is the reason
all of us right here
and ready
to shout
it out: HERE!"

KSB




(doris davenport)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kay, is this poem yours? As for who else would wear Aretha's hat--I would if I had it. I love the hat, Aretha, and the poem. I think it's better than Elizabeth's on Inauguration Day. If it is not yours, whose? I'm sure Doris must love it. Teresa McLamb Blackmon

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Teresa, so good to hear from you. Yes, the poem is mine and I'm still tinkering with it. I'm glad you liked it. Aretha herself IS a poem. No, I wouldn't attempt to wear that hat. I'll have to email you a new poem about the small hats I wore to church every Sunday. Just don't have the presence to wear Aretha's hat. Maybe in my next life? K.

DeadMule said...

Nice. Best, Helen

Nancy Simpson said...

Hello, Hello Kay. Hello Doris. I love the poem, love Aretha, (and the priceless photo of her) love her hat, love her song, one of my all time favorites.

karenh said...

Fabulous hat, fabulous poem!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Thanks, Karen and Nancy. Helen, I'll be posting your link, along with some others today or tomorrow, just in case some folks don't read comments. Thanks for sending.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Kay,
Thanks for posting this wonderful poem by Doris. I sure did enjoy the beautiful hat Aretha wore. Her song touched my soul.

Anonymous said...

Kay,
You certainly have a lot of fine poems on your blog! Thanks for sharing them with all of us!
Glenda Barrett

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