Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trying to Fly

Today I reviewed a music CD at Escape Into Life, on "poetry Wednesday," because, as has been pointed out by poets I admire, a CD is a bit like a poetry chapbook! And Naomi Ashley is a singer/songwriter, writing songs that are gently rhyming lyric poems. Her voice is soft and whimsical, just my kind of thing. So, I hope you'll check out Trying to Fly at her website or ReverbNation, etc.

I got to hear her live once, at the Encyclopedia Show in Chicago, and she was lovely. Wrote about it here. So it's a good Hump of the Week for me.

It's also a Random Coinciday. Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s real birthday, even though we get next Monday off. (And also my mom's!) This morning I opened the newly received Poetry East (Numbers 80&81,Fall, 2013) to this epigraph by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

What, then, is the answer? The answer lies in our willing acceptance of unwanted and unfortunate circumstances even as we still cling to a radiant hope, our acceptance of finite disappointment even as we adhere to infinite hope. This is not the grim, bitter acceptance of the fatalist, but the achievement found in Jeremiah's words, "This is a grief, and I must bear it."

I heard this, of course, in the context of social justice, but also in the personal context. The first poem in the issue, directly following the King quotation, is a long narrative poem by Michael Hettich, recounting the loss of their first child ("unwanted and unfortunate circumstances" of a home birth). I'd read his poems about this before, but not in such detail, nor from such distance, the distance of 30 years, which collapsed into the astonished woe of memory. One of the songs on Trying to Fly, "Jennie Wise," has a sad story of this kind, too. Alas.

And I heard the "radiant hope" and "willing acceptance" of Emily Dickinson, or any struggling artist not in denial who understands the patient woe of the unsung. Someone of her patience and strength and courage could indeed take on that knowledge.

So, I wish you radiant hope.

1 comment:

Collagemama said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Your gift of radiant hope just arrived and I love it!