Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou’

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

 

Nini Bennett. Digterlike bloudrukke

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

        

Die hoofkarakter in Stieg Larsson se Millennium-trilogie het ’n onuitwisbare indruk op die hedendaagse zeitgeist gemaak. Die Sweedse aktrise Noomi Rapace vertolk die rol van ’n swaar getatoeëerde Lisbeth Salander in die 2011-film, The girl with the dragon tattoo. Selde was daar so opwindende protagonis soos Salander in moderne fiksie – sy is ’n kuberkraker en ly aan Asperger-sindroom; beskik oor ’n fotografiese geheue; is afsydig, biseksueel, onafhanklik, avontuurlustig en wraaksugtig. Sinoniem met die karakter is ’n tatoeëermerk van ’n draak op haar rug: dit vorm deel van Salander se ikoniese beeld.

Alhoewel die gebruik van tatoeëermerke 5000 jaar oud is, beleef ons die afgelope dekade werklik eers ’n tatoe-renaissance. “Waar het jy daardie mooi tatoe gekry?” skerts ’n vriendin van my onlangs. En sy antwoord laggend haar eie vraag: “Twaalf jaar vir messteek in Pollsmoor.” Dit som in ’n sekere sin die stereotipering, en sy tweeling, vooroordeel, jeens die dra van tatoeëermerke op. Studies rondom die aanbring – en die sielkundige dryfvere – rondom tatoeëermerke word gereeld geloods; dit is veral ’n gewilde onderwerp binne die populêre sielkunde. Hierdie bevindinge moet egter met omsigtigheid benader word. Die dae wat tatoes leuenverklikkers was vir ’n individu se promoskuïtieit, kriminele, verslawende of emosioneel labiele gedrag, is lankal verby. Tatoeëermerke is stadigaan besig om hulle sosiale taboes, wat bloot veldiep is, af te skud. Soortgelyk aan die mites rondom die terugspeel van langspeelplate wat kwansuis obskure, bose boodskappe bevat. Vandag is tatoeëermerke waarskynlik niks meer as ’n teken van selfekspressie of mode nie. Om Johnny Depp aan te haal: “My body is my journal, my tattoos are my story.”

Die woord “tatoe” is afgelei van die Tahitiaanse woord “tatu”, wat streep of vlek beteken, en behels ’n vorm van liggaamsmodifisering waar naalde gebruik word om ink onder die opperhuid aan te bring om die vel se pigment te verander. Die simboliese waarde van tatoes verskil van kultuur tot kultuur en van individu tot individu. Tatoes is onder meer tekens van liefde, assosiasie, stam en etnisiteit, beskerming, dapperheid, godsdiens, rang of seksualiteit. Die nagatiewe konnotasies verbonde aan tatoeëermerke is deels te wyte aan die volgende historiese faktore: (1) Keiser Konstantyn die Grote het in 330 n.C. die tatoeëering van gesigte verbied, terwyl die Tweede Konsilie van Nicea in 787 die tatoeëering van enige deel van die liggaam as ’n heidense praktyk verklaar het. (2) Slawe en gevangenes is met tatoes ‘gemerk’, byvoorbeeld die identifikasie van Jode in konsentrasiekampe deur die Nazi’s, asook die gesigstatoeëermerke wat die Zhou-dinastie in China aan gevangenes en slawe aangebring het. (3) Die negatiewe assosiasies rondom tatoes het later jare van China na Japan oorgespoel. Seevaarders, op hul beurt, het tatoeëerkuns na Europa gebring. ’n Mens kan vandag net jou kop skud oor die ondergrondse ateljees van daardie jare, die angs en die opwinding oor die verbode yk…en die onhigiëniese toerusting wat plek gemaak het vir moderne bio-elektriese werktuig en ’n groter toleransie jeens individualiteit. Baie ateljees is egter steeds laatnag of deurnag oop, omdat voornemende kliënte ná ’n partytjie of ’n paar drankies (waarskynlik heel impulsief) besluit om ’n tatoeëermerk te laat aanbring.

Die joernale van idividue se lewens verskil inderdaad: so sal die narratiewe van hulle liggaamskuns ook verskil. Literêre tatoes is al lankal nie meer ’n nuutjie nie, maar die aanvraag na boek- of poësietatoes het vinnig begin toeneem. Nadat ek honderde fotobeelde van literêre tatoeëermerke bekyk het, het ek tot die volgende gevolgtrekking gekom: literêre tatoes bestaan uit ikoniese tatoes, wat vir die individu ’n subjek of simbool rondom ’n vers of boek beliggaam; en literêre tatoes kan bestaan uit aanhalings, hetsy reëls uit ’n betrokke boek of vers, asook die hele vers, of ’n kombinasie van grafika en aanhalings.

Voorbeelde van ikoniese literêre tatoeëermerke    

Die gesig van Ernest Hemingway:

Die groen lig in The Great Gatsby:

Die vyeboom – en die siening rondom keuses – is geïnspireer deur die onderstaande gedeelte in Sylvia Plath se roman, The Bell Jar. Plath is ’n gunsteling onder vroue as dit by die keuse van literêre tatoeëermerke kom.

“…I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Literêre tatoeëermerke: aanhalings en verse

Valentina Tagliabue het die hele Annabel Lee van Edgar Allan Poe op haar rug laat tatoeëer. Tydens ’n onderhoud op Contrawise. org vertel sy meer van die ervaring:

“The tattoo took me about eighteen hours, divided into three days plus one more afternoon to redo some letters. The font is called litos script. Why did I want the entire poem on me? Because my first love in this life is poetry; because when I met the brilliant works of Poe – his novels but especially his poems – they burned my soul so deeply that I wanted a sign of this feeling forever engraved also on my body. The whole text, because you never should break a poem in half or more: all, or nothing.” Tatoeëerkuns van Poe se werk is veral gewild onder aanhangers van die Gotiese subkultuur.

Klik gerus op die volgende skakel om die bekende  Annabel Lee te lees:  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44885/annabel-lee

Hierdie dame het die volgende aanhaling uit Charles Bukowski se vers op haar ribbes laat tatoeëer.

all theories

like clichés

shot to hell,

all these small faces

looking up

beautiful and believing;

I wish to weep

but sorrow is

stupid.

I wish to believe

but belief is a

graveyard.

we have narrowed it down to

the butcherknife and the

mockingbird

wish us

luck.

Die man in die onderstaande foto het ’n fragment uit Allen Ginsberg se vers, America, op sy arm laat tatoeëer.

Klik gerus op die skakel om die hele gedig te lees. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49305/america-56d22b41f119f

En vervolgens Robert Frost: die immergroen Stopping by woods on a snowy evening.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

*

Die gewilde Maya Angelou, soos die refrein, “Still I rise”, op hierdie vrou se arm getuig:

Still I rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Onderskeidend is natuurlik die betrokke individue en tatoeëerkunstenaars se vertolking van gekose literêre tatoes. “There is a bluebird in my heart that / wants to get out” van Bukowski word onder meer verbeeld as ’n anatomiese hart met ’n gevange voëltjie voel binne-in, of bloot net grafika van hierdie blou lyster. Die grootte en lettertipe, en die spesifieke lokalisering op die liggaam speel ’n intieme rol in die subjektiewe interpretasie van die idee of beeld. Die draers van literêre tatoes is diskreet in die keuses van hulle kuns (en verkies meesal net één (literêre) tatoe; smaakvol, en aggressie is opvallend afwesig.) Oor die redes vir hierdie liggaamskuns kan ’n mens lank spekuleer. In baie gevalle funksioneer die tatoeëermerke as ’n herinnering aan ’n moeilike tydperk in die persoon se lewe: die tatoe “merk” die persoonlike swaarkry as ’n liminale gebeurtenis, wat op sy beurt dien as tipe trofee vir die persoon se deursettingsvermoë. Hierdie herinnering dien dan as motivering om sterk of moedig te wees later. Die rol van die sosiale media lei tot nabootsing in die keuse van tatoes onder verbruikers, soos dit blyk uit die voorbeelde wat ek bekyk het via Google Image, Tumblr, Pinterest en Instagram. Die koste verbonde aan ’n tatoe, asook die beskikbaarheid van goeie of bekwame tatoeëerkunstenaars, is deurslaggewend in die finale keuse. Die populêre kultuur van die dag beïnvloed eweneens mense se sienswyses (byvoorbeeld Harry Potter), alhoewel aanhalings van Shakespeare steeds gewild blyk te wees. Sommige literêre tatoes signalleer bloot aangename herinneringe, soos die voorliefde vir Alice in Wonderland-tatoeëerkuns. Om die woorde van ’n vers te laat vervlees, of om ’n bloudruk daarvan op jou liggaam te ets vra vir diéper bepeinsing as ’n tatoeëermerk wat terloops na ’n verloopte partytjie bekom is.

Verwysings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/swim-in-denial/201310/if-tattoos-could-talk

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems

Nuuswekker. Waar was die digters met die presidensiële inhuldiging?

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
Maya Angelou tydens die 1993 presidensiële inhuldiging. (Foto: Mark Lennihan / AP)

Maya Angelou tydens die 1993 presidensiële inhuldiging. (Foto: Mark Lennihan / AP)

Nou ja, uiteindelik het die stofwolke in die Amerikaanse draadkamp tot kalmte gekom na die opstootjies rondom pres. Donald Trump se verkiesing tot president en sy inhuldiging ‘n week gelede. Nou vra The Atlantic in ‘n onlangse berig héél tereg waar die digters dan was, want nie minder as vyf vorige presidente het ‘n digter van statuur gehad om ‘n spesiale vers tydens hul inhuldigingseremonie voor te lees, te wete: John F. Kennedy (Robert Frost), Bill Clinton (Maya Angelou), Jimmy Carter (James Dickey) en Barack Obama twee keer: eers Rita Dove, en met sy tweede inhuldiging: Richard Blanco.

Toevallig was al vyf dié voormalige presidente Demokrate. Dit wil dus voorkom asof Trump, en by implikasie die Republikeinse Party, téén die gebruik van ‘n inhuldigingsgedig besluit het.

Volgens The Atlantic se berig, die volgende: “The lack of poetry may seem like a break with precedent, or it may seem especially telling given news that Trump intends to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities […] But in that fact alone—the fact of presidential poetry as a partisan tradition—is a reminder of America’s cultural divides. In the weeks after the election, many Americans turned to poetry for guidance and comfort, as my colleague Megan Garber has chronicled. Now, Leslie Lawrence at WBUR’s website suggests that anyone yearning for some verse on Inauguration Day might want to revisit the works of Walt Whitman. (From Song of Myself: ‘Whoever degrades another degrades me.’)”

Vir jou leesplesier volg Maya Angelou se gedig wat sy tydens Bill Clinton se inhuldiging voorgelees het.

Geniet die naweek wat op hande is.

Louis

*

Inaugural Poem

 

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

 

© Maya Angelou, 20 Januarie 1993

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