Thursday, December 23, 2010
I can only imagine the rush she must have been in, the woman who left this artifact on a New York subway staircase. The sole of her shoe came off, but she kept going, leaving her sole behind. I know that in reality it may not have been a very romantic scene, more likely a disturbing one, but it just makes me think – sometimes it’s good to just keep going, even when you’ve left your sole on the staircase.
We sometimes move forward in life as though we’re walking under water against an undercurrent, engulfed in resistance. We make our way onward and things get torn from us. But we forge on, leaving the dead weight behind. It’s not easy leaving some of these things behind. Just as leaving the sole of her shoe behind almost definitely made walking more difficult, sometimes what we are forced to let go of in life can make it difficult to move forward. But we learn to adjust our gait, develop new patterns for ourselves and move on.
The sole on the staircase is a reminder of the parts of ourselves that have been torn from us, that we’ve had to let go as we push forward. Even if we feel like we’ve left our very soul behind on the staircase of life, we keep walking. We grow. We move on.
(Photo by Kelene Blake)
Sunday, December 12, 2010
“A book burrows into your life in a very profound way because the experience of reading is not passive.” Erica Jong
There are people who do not read? There are people who do not read! It is not that they cannot read, they just do not read. They exist! I’ve met some. It is strange to me because I love books. I have always dreamt of building myself a vast library of good reading to last a lifetime. Reading a good book is one of the events that make life beautiful.
Literacy is a gift so powerful that it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write. Why? So that the slaves would remain in a state of mental slavery, the basis of submission to physical slavery. Reading, writing, expression and knowledge – these are keys to expanding and freeing the mind, and where the mind goes the body follows. Why is it that tyrants, dictators and oppressors burning books is a theme repeated so often in history? Because reading opens people up to ideas, helps people to experience in their imaginations and emotions a world outside of their own. Freedom of thought and imagination does not suit an oppressor’s intentions.
We live in a fast advancing technological world and there are far more sources of entertainment now than ever before in human history. Stories are beautifully told on film all the time, in a far shorter time than it would take to read the book. Yet Erica Jong poses an excellent point. Whereas we simply sit and take in a film, the act of reading is not passive and that is what gives the book its power. We think while we read. We enter the story with our minds, interpret, create our own mental film to tell the story to ourselves. We are not watching the director’s interpretation of the story – we are developing our own interpretation and directing our own images of the scenes.
I feel pity for people who do not read. It is one thing to not be able to read. It is another thing to not be interested. It is like a treasure in a cardboard box sitting in the middle of the room. There are those who cannot get into the room and therefore they cannot find the treasure. But there are those who live in the room, see the treasure box right in front of them, but simply have no interest in opening the box to enjoy what is inside because the box isn’t flashy. It seems like self-imposed mental slavery. I think maybe they were unfortunate enough to not have discovered any truly good books at a young age, and that is why they have no interest in reading. All I can say is that it is a pity, non-readers are really missing out.
(Photo by Kelene Blake: The bookshelf that started it all...The bookshelf I had growing up.)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
By Kelene Blake
I walk through scattered pieces of love
Swirling around my feet like autumn leaves
Swirling like sadness as I wade through my pain.
What’s to be done with the seasons of life?
Chilly Decembers melt into soggy Marches.
Time’s changes flow ever onward.
One day the tears will stop
And leave my eyes clear for looking
At the summer sun whenever it comes back.
I had the task of creating my own verse form in poetry, complete with rules and example, as an assignment given by my professor M.K. Asante Jr. It's the second time I've created my own verse form. Tell me what you think about my "Shrinking Tercets"
i.) The poem is made from an even number of tercets (3 line stanzas) with 2 being the minimum.
ii.) Each pair of stanzas work together as a tercet pair and can stand alone as a single poem.
iii.) The end words of the first stanza of a tercet pair makes up the entire 3-word second stanza of the pair.
iv.) The three words of the second stanza of the tercet pair remain unchanged and must be used in the same order as the end words of the previous stanza.
v.) If there is more than one tercet pair, each must be able to stand alone as an independent poem as well as fit cohesively with the other tercet pairs of the poem.
vi.) When there is more than one tercet pair the even stanzas (3-word stanzas) should be able to be pulled out to make an independent poem.
vii.) The even stanzas are unpunctuated.
viii.) Rhyming is not required.
(Image: Artwork by Trinbagonian artist Lauralin Maynard)