#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Old People Speak of Death #blacklivesmatter

Quincy Troupe the poet is an amazing black poet, prof and writer for children!

Quincy Troupe feels like home, because he is Emeritus Professor American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California. Anyone who loves Caribbean literature has a special place in my heart.

He is #BlackExcellence: Quincy Troupe publishes Black Renaissance Noire, an academic, cultural, political and literary newspaper co-published by the University of New York through the African studies and the Institute of Afroamerican Issues program/department.

And, and, and… He was co-author along with Miles Davis of Miles: The Autobiography, 1989.

What a fine man!

The Old People Speak of Death,
For Grandmother, Leona Smith
by Quincy Troupe

the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

they speak of shadows that graced
their days, made lovelier by their wings of light
speak of years & of the corpses of years, of darkness
& of relationships buried
deeper even than residue of bone
gone now, beyond hardness
gone now, beyond form

they smile now from ingrown roots
of beginnings, those who have left us
& climbed back through holes the old folks left
inside their turnstile eyes
for them to pass through

eye walk back now, with this poem
through turnstile-holes the old folks – ancestors – left inside
their tunneling eyes for me to pass through, walk back to where
eye see them there
the ones who have gone beyond hardness
the ones who have gone beyond form
see them there
darker than where roots began
& lighter than where they go
carrying spirits heavier than stone –
their memories sometimes brighter
than the flash of sudden lightning –

& green branches & flowers will grow
from these roots – wearing faces –
darker than time & blacker than even the ashes of nations
sweet music will sprout from these flowers & wave petals
like hands caressing love-stroked language
under sun-tongued mornings –
shadow the light spirit in all our eyes –

they have gone now, back to shadow
as eye climb back out of the holes of these old peoples
eyes, those spirits who sing now through this poem
who have gone now back with their spirits
to fuse with greenness
enter stones & glue their invisible traces
as faces nailed upon the transmigration of earth
their exhausted breath now singing guitar blues
voices blowing winds through white ribcages
of these boned days
gone now back to where
years run, darker than where
roots begin, greener than what
they bring – spring
the old people speak of death
frequently, now
my grandmother speaks of those now
gone to spirit, now
less than bone

 

Quincy Troupe was born in New York , United States , in 1943. Poet, narrator, essayist, college professor. He has published, among other works, the poetry books: Embryo, 1971; Skulls along the River, 1984; Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems, 1991; Avalanche, 1997; Trascircularities; New and Selected Poems, 2002; and more recently, The Architechture of Language. He is Emeritus Professor of creative writing and American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California .

His poetry and prose have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Polish and Dutch. He has read his work throughout all the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Canada , The Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil .

He has published the following books for children: Take it to the hoop, Magic Johnson, based on his popular “Poem for Magic” 2000; Little Stevie 2005 and Hallalujah about old Ray Charles, 2006.”

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From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

The Shadow People, Francis Ledwidge

Laughing faces in the wild… Some of the images are so lovely.

The Shadow People

[…]

Old lame Bridget says to me,
“It is just your fancy, child.”
She cannot believe I see
Laughing faces in the wild,
Hands that twinkle in the sedge
Bowing at the water’s edge
Where the finny minnows quiver,
Shaping on a blue wave’s ledge
Bubble foam to sail the river.
And the sunny hands to me
Beckon ever, beckon ever.
Oh! I would be wild and free,
And with the shadow people be.

Francis Ledwidge

Oh, better than the minting
. Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
. Of a lovely thing.

Blanche Jennings Thompson

 
Some One

Some one came knocking
. At my wee, small door;
Someone came knocking;
. I’m sure-sure-sure;
I listened, I opened,
. I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a stirring
. In the still dark night;
Only the busy beetle
. Tap-tapping in the wall,
Only from the forest
. The screech-owl’s call,
Only the cricket whistling
. While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,
. At all, at all, at all.

Walter de la Mare

Night Dancers

Their quick feet pattered on the grass
As light as dewdrops fall.
I saw their shadows on the glass
And heard their voices call.

But when I went out hurrying
To join them, they were gone.
I only found a little ring
Of footprints on the lawn.

Thomas Kennedy

Abebooks.com: All The Silver Pennies…buy it from an Indie store!!!

Everything Will Remember, Rajzel Zychlinska. #Yiddishpoetry … The ships will be the color/Of my clothing

Everything will remember

Everything will remember
That I was here.
The ships will be the color
Of my clothing.
The birds will use my voice for singing,
The fisherman on the rock
Will ponder my poem,
The river
Will follow my footprints.

.
By Rajzel Zychlinska.

 

Read more about her at the  Jewish Women’s archives: http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/zychlinski-rajzel

Thanks to Wiki: “Rajzel Żychlińsky was a Polish writer of poetry in Yiddish whose poetry covered a span from the pre–World War II depression years in Poland to the terrors and tragedies of the Holocaust. She is especially noted for her poem God Hid His Face.”

From: a Treasury of Yiddish Poetry edited by Irving Howe and Liezer Greenberg.
USED and NEW: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=13535919967

Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn B. Bennett and Gladys May Casely Hayford: poems for #BlackOutFriday

‪#‎BlackOutFriday‬ poems.

Dream variation

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While dark night comes on gently,
…Dark like me,—
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! whirl! whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. …
A talk, slim tree. …
Night coming tenderly
… Black like me.

Langston Hughes.

1955536

Photo: New York public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Hatred

I shall hate you
Like a dart of singing steel
Shot through still air
At even-tide,
Or solemnly
As pines are sober
When they stand etched
Against the sky.
Hating you shall be a game
Played with cool hands
And slim fingers.
Your heart will yearn
For the lonely splendor
Of the pine tree
While rekindled fires
In my eyes
Shall wound you like swift arrows.
Memory will lay its hands
Upon your breast
And you will understand
My hatred.

Gwendolyn B. Bennett

 

laluah

Baby Cobina

Brown Baby Cobina, with his large black velvet eyes,
His little coos of ecstacies, his gurgling of surprise,
With brass bells on his ankles, that laugh where’er he goes,
It’s so rare for bells to tinkle, above brown dimpled toes.

Brown Baby Cobina is so precious that we fear
Something might come and steal him, when we grown-ups are not near;
So we tied bells on his ankles, and kissed on them this charm —
” Bells, guard our Baby Cobina from all devils and all harm. ”

Gladys May Casely Hayford (Aquah LaLuah)

From: “Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com Caroling Dusk
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: Caroling Dusk

Other reading:

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

When you long for warmth… Poems about fire – I

When you are old- William Butler Yeats
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead, 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


Burning Drift- John Greenleaf Whittier

Before my drift-wood fire I sit, 
And see, with every piece I burn, 
Old dreams and fancies coloring it, 
And folly's unlaid ghosts return.
... 
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft 
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
...
Did I not watch from them the light 
Of sunset on my towers in Spain,
...
Did sudden lift of fog reveal 
...
Have I not drifted hard upon 
...
Did land winds blow from jasmine flowers, 
...
And find in Bagdad's moonlit street, 
Haroun al Raschid walking yet
...
Dear souls who left us lonely here, 
Bound on their last, long voyage, to whom 
We, day by day, are drawing near, 
Where every bark has sailing room.
I know the solemn monotone 
Of waters calling unto me; 
I know from whence the airs have blown 
That whisper of the Eternal Sea.
 

As low my fires of drift-wood burn, 
I hear that sea's deep sounds increase, 
And, fair in sunset light, discern 
Its mirage-lifted Isles of Peace.


Shelley- To a sky lark

Higher still and higher 
From the earth thou springest, 
Like a cloud of fire 
The blue deep thou wingest, 
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
 10 

In the golden lightning 
Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
Thou dost float and run, 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
 15 

The pale purple even 
Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 
In the broad daylight, 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight¡ 20 

Countee Cullen: for my grandmother

cuc0003 allen_cullen

Countee Cullen, black poet.

For my grandmother

This lovely flower fell to seed;
Work gently sun and rain;
She held it as her dying creed
That she would grow again.

index

NYer, born in 1903, raised a strict methodist and turned pagan. NY university, Harvard. Published works “Color”, “The Ballad of the Brown Girl” and “Copper Sun”.

His greatest wish was to be read as a poet, not to be judged on the brown colour of his skin. I am pointing out they are black, because otherwise most people assume Countee Cullen was white. And everyone needs bright, shining examples, especially when their bodies are walked over, shot, fetishized, taken, used to scare and control and whitewashed and hidden– on a daily basis.

From the Dark Tower.

We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made eternally to weep.

The night whose sable breast relieves the stark
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bloom at all
In light, but crumple, piteous, and fall;
So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.

Words can never hurt. Unless you hear them again and again.
The incident.

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, ‘Nigger.’

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.

CullenYoungnPretty

 

 

From Caroling Dusk. See http://www.abebooks.com for your own copy!!

Black History- poems about your body. Waring Cuney- No images.

Image

Black History Month- poems about your body.

She does not know
her beauty,
she thinks her brown body
has no glory.

If she could dance
naked
under palm trees
and see her image in the river,
she would know.

But there are no palm trees
on the street,
and dish water gives back
no images.

Waring Cuney- No images.

“He is best known for his poem “No Images”, which won first prize in the 1926 Opportunity poetry contest. The poem was later used by jazz singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone on her 1966 album Let It All Out.”

“William Waring Cuney, “No images” from Storefront Church, published in 1973 by Paul Breman Limited. After exhaustive efforts have been made to identify and contact a rights holder, this material is believed to be in the public domain.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6vZwsJu7co

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/william-waring-cuney

http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/waring-cuney-poet-harlem-rennissance

 

“He is the consummate artist when it comes to drawing vivid sketches of character with brevity and clarity of words. Cuney, as he was better known among his contemporaries, is often referred to either as one of the minor poets of the Harlem Renaissance or one of the “second echelon” poets of the New Negro Movement. However, among his contemporaries he was considered one of the favorites of the Renaissance group.”