Wednesday, July 18, 2012

see them go

I am revising. I don't need one poem; I need all poems. But I only have room for one today.


The Calling

And the word came--was it a god
spoke or a devil!--Go
to that lean parish; let them tread
on your dreams; and learn silence

is wisdom. Be alone with yourself
as they are alone in the cold room
of the wind. Listen to the earth
mumbling the monotonous song

of the soil. I am hungry, I
am hungry, in spite of the red dung
of this people. See them go
one by one through that dark door

with the crumpled ticket of your prayers
in their hands. Share their distraught
joy at the dropping of their inane
children. Test your belief

in spirit on their faces staring
at you, on beauty's surrender
to truth, on the soul's selling
of itself for a corner

by the body's fire. Learn the thinness
of the window that is
between you and life, and how
the mind cuts itself if it goes through.

by R.S. Thomas

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesmyn, Today I read the New York Times letter you wrote. I found it very interesting. Growing up black In America is always and experience that is personal and yet, for us universally shared. A number of years ago I wrote a song called, "Was It A Whisper?" and recorded as a video that I think you would enjoy it and can relate to. Below is the link. Good luck with your writing, the arts are a wonderful world to be part of. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDp7k2ZnYQs

My website: www.sydneyellis.com I came to Europe to sing 19 years ago because of the same old things we have endure.

Best Wishes,
Sydney

Dean said...

Several years ago I visited the area of Wales where RS Thomas lived and served as a pastor so I could understand his poems better. His poems are as harsh and beautiful as the rocky meadows of Wales. Glad to see you are reading RS Thomas.

Anonymous said...

The Eternal Spirit of Life itself calls out from your beautiful words. Reality attracts. You "keep it real", and I thank you for your courage to speak the unspoken...
We are here to take part in the struggle, take our places in the lines of battle, in the war for freedom, in the war for equality. Your forces are the most powerful weapons ever created, and you use them so well. I am deeply touched, most of all by your phrasing:" When we speak, we assert our human dignity. That is the worth of a word."
Keep going, keep writing, keep lighting more candles that are dispelling the darkness of ignorance.
You are His child, His warrior...
Thank you,
Daniel Arnold Langner,
South Texas Teacher

Skip said...

My name is Skip, I'm in Dallas. I just read Growing Up Black in America. You are an amazing talent. Quite often I become embarrassed being white and reading your essay created one of those times. I agree with you that racism must be called out. I try. My girlfriend is from Cameroon in West Africa. Although Dallas is very diverse and progressive, occasionally,in some places, we get stares. She doesn't want me to react. I want to slap those people until their ears flap. I suspect I need to learn a better strategy. I'm trying.
Blessings,
Skip