I often do not participate in specialized months unless they are very important to me. Last month was Women’s History month and I had to personally honor my two grandmothers and my old high school chemistry teacher who taught me not only a lot of things to help me in life, but who also taught me strength and self-love. If it was not for their input in my life, I would not have the strength to chop off all of my hair and ‘go natural’. Come to think about it—not one ‘celebrity’ or famous person has ever impacted my life as much as my two grandmothers and Ms. Shaw did. I am honored to say that they blessed my life with such positive influence—and so I digress. As I was stating earlier, there are some months that I celebrate: Black History, Women’s History…etc…but April is very special to me because it is National Poetry Month.
I fell in love with poetry the minute that I was able to comprehend the written word. The first poet that I’ve ever loved and admired was Langston Hughes. One of my all time favorite poems is the Weary Blues:
| The Weary Blues
By: Langston Hughes
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Coming from a black man’s soul.
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
And put ma troubles on the shelf.”
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more—
“I got the Weary Blues
And I can’t be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can’t be satisfied—
I ain’t happy no mo’
And I wish that I had died.”
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.
As a child, my mind was wrapped around this poem. I wanted to eat it…take it all in and really understand it. I noticed that as I grew older, I was able to get more out of what it meant. I had no idea that my passion for poetry from so young…with poems that were too old for me…would be the molding for my love for poetry today.
As I grew older, I started to enamor over the work of Nikki Giovanni. There was a poem that she wrote called “My First Memory (of Librarians)” which was my total life story. Since I could remember breath, I remembered the library. My father would take me there as a child. I would not only consume tons and tons of books and the written word and the serenity of the library; I would also marvel over the librarians who worked there and secretly wanted to do that myself. My love for librarians was so strong; some of the closest mentors of my life (from now until today) were librarians. I still keep in touch with them and they still astonish me. Once again, my experience with the written word—through the library and poetry helped to build my love for it today:
My First Memory (of Librarians)
|by Nikki Giovanni
This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.
And with that I noticed that a lot of my favorite poetry was a template for the life that I lived. The words that were constructed by my favorite poets were things that I was experiencing as I read them. I remember in middle school, I decided to construct my own poetry. At that particular moment, I became a poet. I knew that my life was enthralled in the written word. I knew that my expression would not be determined by my lips, but what was constructed from my pen.
During my journey, I met a librarian who introduced me to National Poetry month and I registered myself with www.poets.org. Every April, they send me a beautiful poster to celebrate national poetry month and every April, I hang it and adore it. I keep them in a box and this collection may be turned into some kind of wall art as remembrance of how much poetry means to me.
My blog means a whole lot to me and I wanted to share with you guys this month. Have any pieces of poetry inspired you and your life? How do you feel about poetry? Do you write any poetry on your own?
I am about to revisit a poem that I wrote that’s on my other blog: http://kimbamarie.wordpress.com that deals with how I feel about poetry and my natural hair. Hopefully this inspires you to write about you, your hair, anything at all. Pick a poem this National Poetry Month…share it with me or someone else. Keep the expression of poetry alive so it can inspire a young hungry literary soul like it did for me so many years ago:
Natural Hair Poem 8/23/2012 by Kimba Azore (Fleur de Curl)
if it is for me to create,
i want to create something as natural as my hair.
push the boundaries of my mind
as new growth buds from the pores of my scalp.
i want to
in every story
like my hair does naturally.
i want to create because it is
for me to create…
compose beautiful verses of song
stanzas of poetry
stories of love.
i want to create in nature
like my hair has been crafted
just for me.
my creation will be perfect in my mind
all the time
What I listened to while writing this post: