vendredi 5 décembre 2008

Esperanza


I wake up in the dark
A little light shimmers
from the oil burner, 5am
and the tv's on with
a conversation that
pulls me in:

"We are the ones
we have been waiting for"
It's Alice Walker, her
round beautiful face
glows with peace and
enlightened thought,

Her voice soft and deep
like a lilac-filled breeze
and she's talking about
massaging the feet of the
great Miriam Makeba
after a New York concert

while Miriam explained
that she had to wear those
high heels because her
public expected it, but
Alice tells us that
Miriam died singing barefoot

Alice had written an
open letter to the newly
elected president Obama,
the first African descendant
to move into that famous
house built by slaves

She tells him, cultivate your
own happiness, don't become
like all the other graying
men who take on the
enemies of past presidents
and lose their bliss

She told him, Be a lover,
father, light to others,
keep that winning smile,
and let the rest of us do our part
to focus like a laser on war
and eradicate it for good

"We are the ones
we have been waiting for"
I think about Nina Simone,
James Baldwin, the men and
women who sang and wrote
about hope, esperanza

as my friend in Spain calls it,
Nelson Mandela, Jesse Jackson,
and oh yes Hugh Masakela
and Mama Afrika, yesterday
we said goodbye to Odetta and
esperanza's what's still going on

Built up brick upon stone,
it crossed infamous bridges,
batted tremendous averages,
sang wild and beautiful arias,
found infinity in a peanut, landed
hundreds of knockout blows

Esperanza's been chanted
in long marches across city
and town to the top of the
mountain, where we strained
with our steps toward
a promised land of good

Alice tells him, We always
knew you would come
to fulfill that promise, a new
generation to redeem all
that we have lost and won
with the totality of our hope

But let us each do our part,
It doesn't fall alone upon
your shoulders, we all
need to participate because
"We are the ones
we have been waiting for"

And suddenly that esperanza
fills me up too, it comes
fast, hot and hard
like the rocket gibraltar
or a riff by Jimi Hendrix,
blue like Bessy Smith, red

like Ella, and i'm ready for the
healin', ready to be washed
clean and reborn, rarin' to take
it on because i'm here waiting too,
lit up with the morning light
and a boatload of poems


9 commentaires:

Max Babi a dit…

Laura dear!
This was truly an inspired poem, and you jangled so many of my heart-strings... also you've woven so many of my favorite female singers like Odetta, Mariak Makeba and Ella... thus enhancing the beauty of your lovely words.
Thanks, and hugz
Max

Moineau En France a dit…

gracias, max, mi amigo! i am hoping that the last two lines by frost do not weaken the poem. if anyone has any feelings about this, please do let me know! xooxx

r. walker a dit…

laura,
i think the whole world is feeling a sense of hope right now...and your poem expresses that so perfectly...very nice!

Ron B. a dit…

Quite the contrary Laura. Your wonderful poem is about we, us and our but the last two lines are a reminder of the individual commitments required.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, ron. i'm feeling better about it, and i do so love that frost poem... it seemed a great fit. xoxoxox

John Walter a dit…

I love the way your poem makes me feel, Laura. In its magistral stream of impressions you´ve caught a moment where the Zeitgeist is shifting, where things are possible again. My only caveat is the ending seems contrived with the Frost quote, even though I know on some level you want to remind the reader of Frost at Kennedy´s inauguration and so bring the poem to a cyclical closer. But it seems overburdened because you´ve already quoted Alice Walker. Other than that final quote, this poem is a winner and a keeper all the way through. You sustain a sense of euphoria well past the breaking point. You raise us up to a fever pitch of longing for a REAL CHANGE. Bravo, mon cheri.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you so much for your great comment, john. a great criticism of the point i've been struggling with! i agree, john, felt it since the beginning, but you have explained why to me, the overburden of two persons quoted. now i must find a new ending. i will work on that. THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Anonyme a dit…

Laura ... I love the gentle but wise meandering feel to your beautiful words. Wise with history and wise with the fulness of real love, the love of one for humanity. I have not been able to write ... there are too many pains within my heart ... but you inspire. Thank you. Love, Liz

Moineau En France a dit…

well, i have changed the poem. the last two lines were:

"But I have promised to keep/
and miles to go before I sleep"

w/ a footnote to frost.

i needed someone to say it outloud, that it sounded contrived, and jw finally did. it surprised me how fast another ending came, a couple of false starts and then voilà! i'm very happy with it now.