"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Talking Drums

Improvisation 6 (African)
Wassily Kandinsky (1909)
Fair Use Principles



1.

A woman comes to the village
where a child squats in the dust
and says, “I hunger.”
The boy is silent, cut from stone,
eyes hidden behind his fingers
not more than a figment of earth with shaven skull.
“I thirst.”
A body as sinewy as drought
bird thin bones, and large, old hands
cradling a calabash
and a boy raising his face to the sky
“Will you sing to me?”


2.

Two ancient men sit hunched,
backs to a slab of ochre.
Their story is written
in shades of sand and blood
but they shun conversation, shrug off flies,
eyes shuttered
like corrugated iron windows.


3.

Who has not known the loneliness
of a single candle,
a stray dog, one chicken
on the wrong side of the fence?
You shoulder the baggage of sleepless nights,
look to the end of the road
beyond this peeling door, this hiatus,
and all the while the talking drums
are calling someone else’s name.








29 comments:

  1. These are intense..so nicely done.

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  2. You've given life to this image -- I almost want to take the talking of the drums as a literal beating sound, but perhaps that is not the meaning here -- particularly drawn to the 1st stanza, with the boy raising his face to the sky -- I imagine he does hear song, even admid his hunger..powerful images. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. There is such a thirstiness to this piece - both a physical yearning for sustenance and an emotional one to be heard.

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  4. WOW! Instant consciousness-raising. Brilliant writing, Kerry. I can see them so clearly, and am so moved by the boy wishing for a song.

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  5. My goodness, Kerry ❤️ you have created such magic with your words!!

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  6. Its definitely like that we belong yet anonmity can be haunting us. Does anyone here know my name?

    enjoyed all the well crafted images in this message

    much love...

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  7. Profoundly moving in the intensity of these words - as usual I take pleasure in your originality of image

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  8. I wish their names would be called soon, Kerry. I felt for them all, with high priority for the stray dog.
    ..

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  9. To me this is like the tale of the nomad. An observer seeing the woman, and the boy. The old men, and the dog. It breathes with dust... and then the drums calling almost like a metaphor for death I felt. Excellent write.

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  10. If your goal was to wake intense feelings... Congratulations. Your words were successful

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  11. so much this reminds me of images during my short, 4 month trip across Africa. you've captured the sky, and all s/he sees beneath ~

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  12. I feel like the speaking is standing behind a camera, and I'm seeing (feeling things) through her. The image is both alien and familiar. I might have never experienced the world exactly like the subjects are experiencing it, but like the speaker, I know what they are living... Still, I feel helpless when it comes to easing their needs. Beautifully painful and deep, Kerry.

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  13. A soul's famine--perhaps a nation's or a history's though I read it as personal--has dry vision and starving intonation, spare and bare of much, even anything sustaining. Starvation is a play of many weakening acts, and there are plenty here. What must change? does the sky open, do the food trucks arrive, does a lover smile? before there is no more ink?

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  14. Oh! I am concerned that the boy is cut from stone already. This is intense. Thank you, Kerry.

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  15. A body as sinewy as drought
    bird thin bones, and large, old hands
    cradling a calabash

    whoosh - the word combinations and starkness of the imagery just hits so hard that you see (and hear, and feel) it all immediately in one big highly satisfying whack to the head

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  16. Gorgeous use of words. Your words brought out so many intricacies of image into my head. I thoroughly enjoyed this despite it tucking some extra weight into my heart.

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  17. This is so good with me sympathising with the chicken remembering their anxiety when we kept them. How few of us are called by the drums.

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  18. A second reading, enjoyed; Have a nice Sunday

    much love...

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  19. The song of loneliness and being lost and hungry (for whatever we are lacking) quietly drums here..like the thoughts and tick of the clock keeping us awake

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  20. I love the exchange in the first section. Regardless of age and circumstance, and even despite wealth and opportunity, all people hunger and thirst. All people ask others for a lullaby, for soothing. I'm picturing this as a metaphor, the woman as perhaps an American missionary reaching out to the impoverished, the presumed starving. The way you've written it, the child could be expressing hunger or the woman could; I'm interpreting it as the latter. Without going on needlessly, I'll just say that you have, in just a few lines, made me want to know their souls, not just their stories. You make me want to mother them both --- the boy and the grown woman.

    I think I'll just read this one for now. I'm not finished pondering it. I'll come back for the rest.

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  21. Everything here is so powerful, but that ending...wow. The drums are calling someone else's name? After all that has already been endured?! That packs such a punch.

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  22. You have captured the plight of those who hunger and thirst may it be quenched...

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  23. and a boy raising his face to the sky
    “Will you sing to me?”

    That's all they asked. They just put aside the reality of it all!

    Hank

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  24. Powerful Kerry! This is an amazing poem. Have a great week!

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  25. I think we do not know that everyone has known "the loneliness
    of a single candle,
    a stray dog, one chicken
    on the wrong side of the fence?"

    If we ever knew that, we no longer believe it. Many do not see themselves being seen, and yet wait listening for their own names.

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  26. The third poem spoke with the image of loneliness in the single candle. Looking to the end of the road with no one calling your name ... bkm

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