I follow your words across the page,
jumping greedily ahead,
losing my place in the rush to know the ending,
and going back, guiltily,
to read what I’ve skipped in haste.
Phrases painstakingly crafted
to elicit a particular emotion –
such a quiet, unassuming figure…
who would guess you hold such
power over others?
Ideas. Stories. Questions.
Complaints and fierce wonderings —
This is how we share
the human condition…
which may well be the meaning of life.
I hold the book in my hands,
my body heat warming the cover,
bring it towards my face,
smell the paper and ink,
inhale the perfume of poetry.
I follow your words,
and in that simple, dedicated act,
I’m really following you.
It’s been a few weeks since I shared my love of a particular “sexy” writer. So, today…I have two…two, whom, for some reason rose to the level of my consciousness.
The first is Claude McKay…a writer well-known for his respected involvement in the Harlem Renaissance. Many years ago, I think maybe even in high-school or early in college, I was working on an assignment that required me to research a poet from a provided list. I was familiar with most of the names, so, intentionally, I chose one of the few I had never heard. Through the course of my study, I came across the following poem – which instantly earned a place in my mental book of favorite poems:
THE HARLEM DANCER
by: Claude McKay (1890-1948)
- PPLAUDING youths laughed with young prostitutes
- And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;
- Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes
- Blown by black players upon a picnic day.
- She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,
- The light gauze hanging loose about her form;
- To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm
- Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.
- Upon her swarthy neck black, shiny curls
- Profusely fell; and, tossing coins in praise,
- The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,
- Devoured her with their eager, passionate gaze;
- But, looking at her falsely-smiling face
- I knew her self was not in that strange place.
- And another favorite, mainly because his complete, and intentional, disregard for the rules of written English confound me. Some of e.e. cummings’ poems confuse the hell out of me – make no sense whatsoever…but others…oh, yes, others make me dizzy with admiration – here are a few of my favorites:
The unbelievably perfect simplicity of this poem – and the ingenious, innovative way that the message is presented…make my geeky thighs a little sweaty.somewhere i have never travelledby e. e. cummingssomewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyondany experience, your eyes have their silence:in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,or which i cannot touch because they are too nearyour slightest look easily will unclose methough i have closed myself as fingers,you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first roseor if your wish be to close me, i andmy life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,as when the heart of this flower imaginesthe snow carefully everywhere descending;nothing which we are to perceive in this world equalsthe power of your intense fragility: whose texturecompels me with the colour of its countries,rendering death and forever with each breathing(i do not know what it is about you that closesand opens; only something in me understandsthe voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)nobody, not even the rain, has such small handsThis has been a Wicked Wednesday post. To see who else is “wicked” this Wednesday…please click