Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/05/wade-in-the-water. (from June 5th issue-- link to hear her voice)
+ June 28: discussion
In the first, Wade in the Water, Judith immediately thought of Alvin Ailey: Revelations
The Ailey performance is pegged as "African American experience: sorrowful/jubilant, but always hopeful expressing the holiest of joy in the soul."
We hear the spiritual "wade in the water" in the title, and wonder if we are in a church. A very present "I love you" seems to be the pith of the poem: the strength of the divine in "I love you" spoken by a woman who doesn't know her, but invites her in.. and then proceeds to greet other strangers the same way.
Beware, the light is heavy...
From there to performance, where "I love you" is in every hand clap and stomp. To the I love you
in the rusted chains of slavery...
"To drag until love let them be
It ends with the breathlessness of escaping at the end of the poem with a hint of "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen". That whatever we now knew
"My heart cluttered with names that mean nothing." We noted the questions in the first two stanzas.
--"What did your hand smooth over the the casket of the belly" (her mother, with her in utero)
The third stanza has no question... "I am trying to let go of something." 2 lines later: "The woods catch it and send it back." Neither does the fourth stanza have a question, but a
person to person honesty with her mother...
We discussed the a sense of grief…the state when one goes back and forth between past/present…
never think you'll meet... but... do you ever wonder ....
I love this part of stanza 2:
I love the fact that our perception of what the future will be, has changed. The slippery nature of
time and space and being. She captures it and then, in the 3rd stanza tosses us into confident,
brave new world that escalates into these final lines:
skipping to 6/28 discussion of The Soul.
Detachment. Form is emptiness, emptiness form, in the voice that enters us, "saying nothing
Unusual images: Soul with heft. A voice... tossed, chipping away at what pushes back.
silence around it like a door punched with light...
Back to 6/21.
Part of the fun of Facebook poets, is "found poetry" -- or one poet posting a line,
and asking each person to add to it... I shared such a poem -- we could come up with our own:
We all cracked up when we arrived at the repeat of "And then, there is this moment..."
I shared the ASL video which signs two stanzas of Blake. Just as music is more powerful than words typed on a page,
I feel movement also conveys more.