This Then Is the Work of the Spirit

I like to consider myself to be a bit of a poet, so when I come across someone who clearly has the skill down to an art form I have to share their words with the world! I’ll start with you. 😉 I hope you enjoy this poem by Louis Alan Swartz. It’s featured in his book of poetry entitled Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit.


 

constructed magic
This Then is the Work of the Spirit
(Written for and dedicated to Carla Cohen)
You were sitting across from me,
That was the apparency.
Do you fully realize what you
Enabled me to see?
The depth of the aesthetic
You opened in me?
We stand in awe
As the spirit is freed.
In the little room
Faced to the south
Couldn’t believe the words
That came out of my mouth.
You listened beyond all
Imaginable listening,
Helped me see
A profound aesthetic that had
Always been part of me.
The depth of your listening
Has enabled me to hear
A music that has no sound.
This then, is the voice of the spirit,
It was always right there,
I was always right near it.
But before you listened to me
I just couldn’t hear it.
Bless you and the work you do.
This is the actual holy work.
The work of the heart.
The work of the spirit.
Thank you for listening to me
With such unearthly intensity.
There was truth
Right next to me
That for vast, vast eons
I couldn’t quite see,
An aesthetic that comprises
The very best in me.
You’ve helped me open this
For all of eternity.
For this, I cannot express
The degree to which
I thank thee.

Good poetry leaves much to be interpreted by the reader, and this poem reminded me of what excellent counselors do: provide a safe place for people to open their emotions and their eyes to the endless possibilities life brings. What’s your interpretation of this poem?
If you want to enjoy more poetry by Louis, click here!

 

I Know A Girl…

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

They live in the projects just south of 7th street

I sometimes see her walking home from school

She stands out from the other kids

There is no voracious curiosity beaming from her eyes

No barely contained desire to push the envelope and test boundaries radiating from her being

She has the closed off look of someone who has learned that curiosity did indeed kill the cat

She looks like she knows that some steps taken and lines crossed are impossible to retrace

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

One part of me wants to write her off as another statistic

To look past her to another teen with less drama and more potential

Another part of me, the part that longs to break down generational brick walls

Wants to sternly tell her

Number one: Take care of you and your son.

Number two: Get an education.

Number three: Strive for a career, not just a job.

Number Four: Choose what you’re naturally good at, then study it to make yourself better.

Number Five: Leave the boys alone for now. Wait until you’re older and know who you are. Then you’ll know who you want.

Number six: There will always be people who will judge you based upon your past. They’ll call themselves realists, but they’re cynics. Ignore them.

Number seven: Dreams are good. Call them goals and have a plan.

Number eight: Always remember that—are you listening to me?

Yes ma’am but…

But WHAT?

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

 

My frustration spills over

Why won’t she walk into the bullet pointed life I’ve outlined for her?

And now this woman/child is looking at me

With those eyes that have seen too much and not nearly enough

So I soften my voice and ask again

But what, sweetie?

A slight hesitation with bowed head and gaze glued to the floor

I’m still stuck on number one

I can barely take care of myself

Let alone my son

 

I know a girl who’s always saying

She doesn’t know what to do

She’s fifteen and her son is two

You Are Loved!

Hey y’all, I normally don’t post anything on Sundays, but I really wanted to share this video with you guys! It’s a powerful message of affirmation for women. I hope it speaks to your soul. Be blessed!

 

XoXo,

Faith

 

Maya Angelou’s Legacy Continues: Caged Bird Songs

Photo Credit: MayaAngelou.com/media

Photo Credit: MayaAngelou.com/media

I have incredible news! AMAZING news! I’m thanking God for technology and the gift of a legacy, even as a wisp of a smile dances across my face. Yesterday I discovered that the late Dr. Maya Angelou is releasing a project posthumously. It’s like nothing she’s ever done before, yet so familiar and reminiscent of her style and grace. Check out the press release taken from MayaAngelou.com:

Maya Angelou’s Work Mixed With Hip-Hop for Album

NEW YORK — Sep 3, 2014, 11:38 AM ET – By MESFIN FEKADU AP Music Writer

Maya Angelou’s iconic words and lyrics will blend with hip-hop beats for a new album called “Caged Bird Songs.”

Shawn Rivera, the lead singer of R&B group Az Yet, and RoccStarr, who co-wrote Chris Brown’s “Fine China,” produced the 13-song set, to be released through Smooch Music on Nov. 4.

The album — the title taken from Angelou’s classic 1969 book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — is one of the last projects Angelou completed before she died in May, her grandson said in an interview Tuesday.

“Grandma loved it from the beginning,” Colin A. Johnson said of the album’s concept. “These guys were inspired by grandma’s work, which many people are, and felt like giving it a different medium of delivery to make it more obtainable to a larger group of people.”

Rivera and RoccStarr started working on the album before Angelou knew of it. Johnson, who is in charge of Angelou’s estate with his father Guy B. Johnson, said once she was aware, she completely backed the project, which was recorded at her North Carolina home. Some of the songs use previously recorded Angelou vocals, while others were recorded specifically for the project.

Johnson said Angelou’s initial reaction to the songs was similar to when she first saw her own Facebook page: “She just laughed.”

“She loved it and was excited to hear more about what they wanted to do,” he said of the album. “She had a lot of energy around it.”

Angelou won three Grammys for her spoken-word albums. She previously released a calypso album and collaborated with Ashford & Simpson for 1996’s “Been Found.” She also was featured on Common’s 2011 album, “The Dreamer/The Believer.”

Click here to read more.

There’s a sample on Maya Angelou’s website of her melodic and powerful voice reciting the critically acclaimed poem ‘Still I Rise’ with soulful music in the background. Check it out here. You can also pre-order the album that is set to drop on November 4, 2014 via Amazon. Choose either the Deluxe Album or Standard Album. I’m sure they’re both absolutely fabulous!

Who’s your favorite author or literary hero? Why are you drawn to their work? What would you say if you had the opportunity to meet him or her? 

In case you missed it, click here to read the tribute I wrote to Dr. Angelou on the day she passed.

 

Know Me…

silhouette of man and woman

I don’t just want a man to hold me

I long for someone to know me

Console me…Intimately explore me

Then grow me and show me

That true love is so much more

Than any man has ever told me

Not interested in sex with the ex

Or even the next

Unless…

He chooses me

Not to use me

Never to abuse me

Willing to lay down his pride for me

Wife me…and commit his life to me

I don’t need a man to pay my way for me

Not looking for one to fight my battles for me

Just ride beside me and

Understand the passions that drive me

Take time to see me for me

No comparison to any woman who ever came before me

Except to confess

That they were so much less

Than the one he has now…

Cream of the crop

In other words ‘the best’

Never bringing the stress

Flying past every test

Got your heart drumming

Staccato beats in your chest

Yet still bringing your soul

To that place of rest

So will the brother

That considers him self able

To meet this challenge

And abide at my table

Make him self known so that he can

Feast on my delicacies

Grow strong on my heartiness

Compliment all about me that is savory

And indulge in my sweetness?

But only if you are ready to

Know me…

Did you relate to this poem?

Read more like it by purchasing “Voices from the Block’, the wonderful anthology I’m featured in!

Click here to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Poet’s Corner Cafe: The Stillness of My Sorrow

It’s been a while since I’ve invited y’all to stop by the Poet’s Corner Cafe for some real knowledge exploration in the form of spoken word. So have a seat and come with me on this journey into grief by way of denial. Hope it speaks to you.

 

The Stillness of My Sorrowsorrow

 

I’m afraid to sit in the stillness of my sorrow

So I distance myself by using intellect to examine emotions

Posing questions with a philosopher’s practiced detachment

 

I’m afraid to sit in the stillness of my sorrow

Heart pounding with the fear of confronting truth

So I tuck my sorrow under my rib cage behind my heart

Where it presses into my back and prods me to say ‘Yes’

When a ‘No’ or ‘Not yet’ would be most beneficial

It pushes me to DO more

So I don’t have to BE more

 

I’m afraid to sit in the stillness of my sorrow

So I distract myself with pretty phrases manipulating words

Making art out of denial and self-preservation

 

I’m afraid to sit in the stillness of my sorrow

My shoulders tensely hunched and touching my ears

So I do not exhale

Don’t unclench my teethRebirth

Because then the cracks will show

The sorrow will flood out

The broken pieces of me scattered and

I’ll have to begin the process of being made

Into someone new

 

I’m afraid to sit in the stillness of my sorrow

Because then there’s work to do

How do you cope with grief? Is denial something you use to make it through? 

Photo credit: Megyarsh / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Poet’s Corner Cafe: “The Brightness of Your Light”

Welcome! Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable. Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I hope you enjoy this poem about the beautiful relationship that mothers and daughters share. Don’t forget, if you’re a poet and you want to rock the mic in Poet’s Corner Cafe, click the CONTACT button up top. I’d love to help share your art with the world!

Mother daughter

The Brightness of Your Light

Your light shines so bright

I am astounded by your beauty

Each chrism of glass holds a reflection of the very best parts of me

It is no wonder that I couldn’t see all of you clearly

I’ve been deceived by dancing shadows and the trickery of subtly changing seasons

As a mother it is my preemptive duty to protect you from outside danger

To instinctually keep at bay the lurking circle of predators and thieves

I thought I did that

How could I be expected to see the threat that lived inside of you?

I was blinded by my clairvoyant vision of your future

I did not see the hurt buried so deep that it imploded and exploded inside of you

I’m sorry

But you didn’t tell me either

I know you’re sorry too

Your future is still waiting

I will get you there

I will push you and pay in blood and sweat

And yes even tears to get you there

I will pull you until my limbs stretch farther than they were ever meant to go

We will broaden your scope of sight

You will be brave

We will travel back in time to arrive at your future

We will defy nature and return to a suspended space

When I breathed for you

When you gained nourishment from my body

When my heart beat set the rhythm for your first fluttering of life

And you will be born anew

My promises are true

I will get you to your future

And then I will continue to bask

In the brightness of your light

Photo credit: Rudy (New Routes) / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)