Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Nini Bennett. Presidente en hulle poësie

Friday, February 19th, 2021

 

 

Die jongste wêreldnuus aan die poësiefront is die 22-jarige Amanda Gorman se voordrag van haar gedig, “The hill we climb”, tydens die presidensiële inhuldiging van Joe Biden, die 46 ste president van die VSA op 20 Januarie 2021. Gorman het in haar hoedanigheid as poet laureate opgetree. Dié begaafde jong digter, ’n inwoner van Los Angeles, was in 2017 die nasionale jeug-poet laureate. Sy is tans ’n sosiologie-student aan die Harvard-universiteit. Gorman is tot op hede die jongste digter wie dié eer te beurt geval het. Demokrate soos John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton en Barack Obama het ook poet laureates tydens hulle inhuldigingsplegtighede gehad. Gorman sluit, met haar 5-minute lange gedig, aan by haar ikoniese voorgangers soos Robert Frost, Maya Angelou en Elizabeth Alexander. Maar net twee weke voor hierdie historiese dag het gewelddadige Trump-ondersteuners die Capitol in Washington DC bestorm met vlae, pypbomme en galgtoue. In Gorman se gedig doen sy ’n oproep tot nasionale eenheid, besinning en verandering – met die troos dat Amerika se demokrasie wel seergekry het en tydelik “vertraag” is, maar steeds ’n baken van hoop is wat nooit sal verdwyn nie. Die waarderende tweets het onmiddellik ingestroom, onder meer van Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton en die aktivis en politikus, Stacey Abrahams. Gorman se debuut, The one for whom food is not enough het in 2015  verskyn.

Tyd vlieg inderdaad, en ’n mens dink onwillekeurig aan die dag toe Donald Trump ingesweer is as president, op 20 Januarie 2017. Met dié verskil: Trump het nie ’n poet laureate gehuur nie. Nee, hierdie president het dae nadat hy sy amp aanvaar het, ’n liriek, “The snake”, tydens politieke byeenkomste voorgelees – dieselfde liriek wat hy (heel dreigend) tydens verkiesingsveldtogte gelees het. In sy nuuswekker vra Louis Esterhuizen, na analogie van ’n berig in The Atlantic, tereg waar die digters tydens Trump se inhuldigingseremonie was – en of die tradisie van poet laureates dan net ’n gebruik is wat Demokrate aanhang?  https://versindaba.co.za/tag/presidensiele-inhuldiging/?fbclid=IwAR0_O_VNJcDeh58L4I4m6PpOG3BB4Su2V7fa9rzff63US5eK0OiT8SkCAEo

Wys Trump sy misnoeë met bestaande en gerespekteerde protokol só? Wel, dít is dalk lig gestel. Trump het net een (gunsteling) “gedig”, wat inderwaarheid ’n liriek is, genaamd “The snake”, soos reeds genoem. En die voormalige prez sélf het dit tot vervelens toe voorgelees. Die verdraaide vertolking van die liriek was ’n waarskuwing aan die burgery oor die gevare verbonde aan onwettige immigrante, maar die teks kan ook as metafoor van Trump se presidensie gelees word. Dit handel in kort oor ’n vrou wat ’n slang, wat buite verkluim, in haar huis inneem en versorg. Die slang pik dan sy weldoener met ’n dodelike gif. Die liriek is oorspronklik in 1968 deur Al Wilson geskryf, en volgens die burgerregte-aktivis, Oscar Brown dui die lied op die viering van die swart kultuur en gepaardgaande die verwerping van rassisme. Brown se (oorlewende) kinders het Trump gewaarsku om die liriek nie te te demoniseer nie, waarop Trump onderneem het om die voordrag daarvan te staak – maar hy het steeds voortgegaan.

 

 

Geen poet laureate vir Donald Trump nie: hy het gesorg dat hy die kollig opeis, hý alleen, op verskeie geleenthede. O, en het hy dit nie geniet om sy ‘bangmaakgedig’ te lees nie!  Eers sal hy sy leesbril opsit, ernstig, outoritêr, en met groot fanfare begin lees terwyl hy huiwer voor die argaïese en fleurige taalgebruik in die liriek-vers. Mens kan sien hoe hy die naderende klimaks van die slangfabel geniet…met ’n donker, dramatiese stem stuur hy af op die selfverduidelikende kadens, en die gelaaide stilte ná die voorlesing laat die volle implikasie van die verradelike slang vir eers by sy luisteraars insink.

 

The snake

 

On her way to work one morning

Down the path alongside the lake

A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake

His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew

“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”

“Take me in oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk

And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk

Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived

She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived

“Take me in, oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried

“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight

But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

“Take me in, oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

 

“I saved you,” cried that woman

“And you’ve bit me even, why?

You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin

“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in

”Take me in, oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,“ sighed the snake

 

Joe Biden se gunsteling digters is van Ierse afkoms, waarskynlik omdat die president self van Ierse herkoms is. Hy het deur die jare by herhaling die Nobelpryswenner, Seamus Heaney, aangehaal, wat terloops ook Bill Clinton se gunsteling digter is. Heaney se werk leen hom wonderlik tot politieke toesprake, het Biden per geleentheid gesê.

 

History says

Don’t hope on this side of the grave

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up

And hope and history rhyme.

 

(Soos aangehaal uit Heaney se 1991-drama, The cure at Troy.)

 

Maar dit was egter William Butler Yeats se gedigte wat die jong Biden voor die spieël geresiteer het om van sy hakkelprobleem ontslae te raak – ’n raakpunt wat Amanda Gorman met Biden deel, want as kind het sy ook gesukkel met ’n spraakprobleem. As jy leer om bewus te raak van die uitspraak van woorde, raak jy ingestel op die fynere nuanses van klank; dit het my voorberei vir my rol as storieverteller en voordragkunstenaar, het die jong digter bevestig. Gorman se styl herinner aan die performance poetry ter plaatse, en na my mening kan die digter en die gedig tydens die presidensiële inhuldiging nie van mekaar geskei word nie. Die gedig kan ook as ’n soort kanonisering van performance poetry gesien word. Gorman se manier van lees/voordra is besonder ekspressief. Hier volg die volledige gedig:

 

The hill we climb

 

When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade

We’ve braved the belly of the beast

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace

And the norms and notions

of what just is

Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours

before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president

only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished

far from pristine

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us

but what stands before us

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid

If we’re to live up to our own time

Then victory won’t lie in the blade

But in all the bridges we’ve made

That is the promise to glade

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it’s the past we step into

and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth

in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future

history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was

but move to what shall be

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

we will rise from the windswept northeast

where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

we will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it

 

Die presidensiële inhuldiging met die versoenende tema “America united” was ’n rasende sukses. Die navrae het dadelik ingestroom: wanneer, en waar is Gorman se werk te koop? Binne dae het Gorman se  prenteboek, The change we sing asook die bundel, The hill we climb, wat September vanjaar verwag word, na die boonste twee plekke op Amazon.com opgeskuif. En ja: Die jong digter is ambisieus – sy het in ’n onderhoud met die New York Times genoem dat sy in 2036 gaan terug wees as presidensiële kandidaat.

 

Verwysings

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a35253095/joe-biden-seamus-heaney-irish-poet/?fbclid=IwAR02Qtc2bLSNXopd5Cal1jegCEpiiCZhlkjat8xpHM5ZgEgrgn2VIhPIFsY

https://www.irishpost.com/news/donald-trump-recites-controversial-poem-the-snake-during-rally-196725?fbclid=IwAR2zGhmKCdFxHNqJB0wpmek0ANIf4K9ANH5-itaGTAFErgplt89ce8AJ9u8

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3UaLUUQ6zObm8GAL44T1j2QjkVXFOyH0HuEHHPrMdistTNyCjy4dQH5_w