I have a sad deficiency
Because I can’t grasp poetry
All I can think is, Woe Is Me
For this strange lack of clarity
I’m a life long reader. I love reading and have not been without a book at all times for the past 4o years. Literally. I thank my mother for instilling within my heart this love for reading. She gifted me with my first book. She’s not a literary reader herself, but she understood the power of literature. My family was poor, but my mom invested her pennies in children’s literature for her daughters. She must have been a member of a few book clubs because she delighted in ordering sets of story books for me. There was Grimm’s fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, Alice in Wonderland, and other classics. I’m sure she took great pride in the plump little library that she built for me.
My elementary schools didn’t put the same diligence into the children’s classics as my mother, but they did teach us grammar and the art of sentence diagramming. Of course, it all depended on which of our teachers had a love for teaching. Not all of them did. As I remember, we did not study the classic literature in my poor community school and we certainly did not study black classic literature. I had no knowledge of black literature until I was in my late teens.
Nonetheless, in spite of my deficiencies, I have had a wonderful love affair with books. When my mother introduced me to the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, the affair deepened. I remember thinking as a child how I would love to work at that library right in my neighborhood when I grew up. The place was wonderful for me because it nurtured my young heart. I grew of age in my library. When I turned 19 years old and actually did get a job at the Library two weeks after applying, my childhood came to its conclusion and at that point I continued to read to grow as a woman. Maya and Paule, J. California and Alice were there to usher me through.
I explored many subjects during my breaks while working. Except poetry. I did try though. Somehow, poetry just did not speak to me, and in my disappointment and impatience, I side stepped it. I discovered of all these wonderful black women writers and learned that many were poets. It was a little sad for me to not be able to connect with these poets. At times I felt that I was just not up to par and was missing an essential piece of my black narrative because of my deficiency. Other times I felt poetry, especially black poetry was forced, simplistic, pretentious, flat, ugly. Poetry simply did nothing for me.
Now I’m thirty years older. I feel that I want to write, and I’m working diligently to tie up loose ends, such as grammar and syntax. I’m reminding myself of the basic rules of english. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing an important link in my development with my lack of poetry love.
I’m not completely bereft though. I love the poetry of the King James and the Message versions of the Bible. I also love the poetic voice of Zora Neale Hurston and Nasir Jones, and numerous others. But…
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I need an intervention of some sort. 😥
- Jonah’s Gourd Vine (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- Which Way To Go – Picking Up and Moving In New Directions (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- The Black Miracle – Dr. Na’im Akbar (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- Who Is The Man, Barack Obama (excerpt 4) (nachalooman.wordpress.com)