Wednesday’s Words to Ponder… Phillis Wheatley

This post is dedicated to Hamba Kahle* uMama Agnes “Aunty Aggie” Msimang. Rest peacefully dear Aunty Aggie.   https://afzalmoolla.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/hamba-kahle-umama-agnes-aunty-aggie-msimang/comment-page-1/#comment-12598

 

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”  –  William Wilberforce 

 

Phillis Wheatly

PHILLIS WHEATLEY – 

 

On Imagination

 

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,

How bright their forms! How deck’d with pomp

By thee!

Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,

And all attest how potent is thine hand.

From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend,

Ye sacred choir and my attempts befriend:

To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,

Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.

Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,

Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes

Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,

And soft captivity involves the mind.

Imagination! Who can sing thy force?

Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?

Soaring through air to find the bright abode,

Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,

We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,

And leave the rolling universe behind:

From star to star the mental optics rove,

Measure the skies, and range the realms above.

There in one view, we grasp the mighty whole,

Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.

Though winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyes

The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;

The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,

And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.

Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,

And with her flow’ry riches deck the plain;

Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,

And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:

Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,

And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.

Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain,

O thou the leader of the mental train:

In full perfection, all thy works are wrought,

And thine the scepter o’er the realms of thought.

Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,

Of subject-passions sov’reign ruler thou;

At thy command joy rushes on the heart,

And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.

Fancy might now her silken pinions try

To rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:

From Tithon’s bed now might Aurora rise,

Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,

While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.

The monarch of the day I might behold,

And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,

But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,

Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;

Winter austere forbids me to aspire

And northern tempests damp the rising fire;

They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,

Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

                                                                             –

Born in the Gambia and sold as a slave at age seven, Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American woman. Her writing was one which helped create the African-American genre of literature. Purchased by the Wheatley family, she was taught to read and write. Furthermore, they encouraged her poetry.

Her first collection of poems was published in 1773. With her subjects of Morality and Religion, she became well know and was praised by prominent figures including George Washington and fellow African-American poet, Jupiter Hammon. She toured England and was emancipated by her owners after her poetic success. In March 1776, she appeared before General George Washington. A strong supporter of independence is reflected in her poetry and in plays, she wrote during the Revolutionary War.

Miss Wheatley married a free black grocer, John Peters, and bore him two children who died in infancy. Mr. Peters abandoned her leaving her penniless and pregnant. In an effort to support herself, she completed the second volume of poems. Alas, she could not find a publisher who was interested.

She died of complications in childbirth at the age of 31. The child died shortly afterward. She had been living in poverty in a boarding house.

Miss Wheatley wrote “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” in honor of George III repealing the Stamp Act. During the American Revolution, her sympathies and her work turned to the view of the colonists.

Phillis Wheatley’s grave lies unmarked. Few of her poems refer to slavery.

At that time, for the most part, white Americans thought it unlikely that a woman from Africa, and a former slave, could write poetry and Miss Wheatley was forced to defend herself in court in 1772. The men assembled to judge her included John Hancock, John Erving, Reverend Charles Chauncey, Thomas Hutchinson,  the governor of Massachusettes, and his lieutenant governor, Andrew Oliver. She was adjudged to be the author of the works ascribed to her and the resulting attestation was published and included in the preface to her book. Due to the prejudice of American publishers, the book was published in London with the aid of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon and the Earl of Dartmouth.

Miss Wheatley’s works are credited with helping to found African-American literature.

The highly regarded poet, Jupiter Hammon wrote an ode to Miss Wheatley in 1778.

Bisous,

Léa

 

 

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Bleu

IMG_0340
Armand in his atelier
IMG_0417
Le croix de Cathar

Bleu

Cobalt

As the tiny rivers

Winding beneath

Papery thin skin

I watch as they have slowed

But remember their faster pace                                                    

DSCN2043
Armand et Auguste

Cerulean

As the plastic cannula

From oxygen tank

To your nasal orifice 

Easing each breath

Your hands reach for me

Offering each cheek to be kissed

Royal

As the dancer

In the flames

As you welded and forged

Iron and steel into magnificent forms

Gates, railings but also art

A band of musicians

Prominent upon your mantel

My own, croix de Cathar

A gift like your friendship

Armand

Bleu shall forever

Be the colour of you

Increasingly fragile

As you reach out for Auguste

The great-grandson who shares

Your sparkle from cobalt eyes  

Bisous,

Léa

I believe his name is Pablo

Perhaps it is because cats do not live by human patterns, do not fit themselves into prescribed behavior, that they are so united to creative people.” – Andre Norton

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”                            –  Jean Cocteau

“Always the cat remains a little beyond the limits we try to set for him in our blind folly.”                     –  Andre Norton

Perhaps Pablo?
Perhaps Pablo?

I believe his name is Pablo

not just for the artist

but also the poet

the one whose silvery

tongue, slides in and out

of my dreams

*

le petit chat noir

 curled up in

my palm creating

his own corner

de coeur

*

only three weeks old

the eyes still dark like

the gloss of his fur

too soon yet

to bring him home

*

it’s been a decade

since i’ve lived

with a cat

my youngest son took

his – when he parted

*

a niche

caché à mon coeur

arms open, waiting

longing to stroke

his silky black fur

*

hypnotic opus whispers

bestowing solace

allowing me to adore you

prompting my behaviors

putting me in my place

*

j’attends

divine inspiration

mysterious muse

oh passionate one

chez moi est chez toi

*

Bisous,

Léa

Petit Chouette / Little Owl – poem

“Can grave and formal pass for wise, when Men the solemn Owl despise.”  – Benjamin Franklin

“He respects Owl, because you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right.” – A.A. Milne

Petit Chouette
Petit Chouette

Petit Chouette – Little Owl

Mon petit

Unscheduled arrival

Dans mon village

How brave you are

Gift of wayward youth

Brightening our day

*

Softness of your

Feathery down

Your eyes

Unused to sunlight

Body – delicate

Almost weightless

*

Warrior of the night

Caesar? Hannibal? Khan?

Unblinking

Gracefully clinging to

Edge of a container

Colors muted, fragile

*

Oh winged oracle

Benediction in flight

Your visit long

Remembered

Your eyes aglow

Wisdom of the night

*

Bisous,

Léa

Post script: For those who read yesterday’s post on http://foundinfrance.wordpress.com our little visitor has been reunited with his family who nest in some trees in the village. At least one adult owl was heard at three this morning to take this young one home.

Nous sommes tous Charlie

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”   –  George Washington

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”   –  Albert Camus

“Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”   –  Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

JE SUIS CHARLIE
JE SUIS CHARLIE

 

Nous sommes tous Charlie…

 

Mon cœur enfle

De l’intérieur de ma poitrine

Il menace d’éclater

Je suis Charlie…

la Solidarité – frappée par la foudre

la Cohésion – debout, ensemble:

Soixante-quatre millions de personnes!

Même après sept ans en France,

cette voix collective me rend humble

mon Hommage(respect) pour la liberté qui ne sera pas

sacrifiée pour l’illusion de la sécurité –

Pas en mon nom – si d’autres le font!

 

l’Humanité est en noir – dans l’union,

Refusant de se taire

Cohésion – 64000000,

les cœurs battent très fort

Les terroristes entendent cette Vérité,

l’Égalité et la Liberté ne seront pas sacrifiées –

Ni tues par le fanatisme – ou par la naissance,

Mais par le cœur, les choix, la pensée…

France, je me tiens debout avec toi,

mon “chez moi” – foyer accueillant de mon cœur

Je suis avec toi,

Nous sommes solidaires,

NOUS SOMMES TOUS CHARLIE!

 

En solidarité

 

Léa

***

Nous sommes tous Charlie

 

My heart swells

From within my breast

It threatens to burst forth

Je suis Charlie

Solidarity – frappée par la foudre

Cohesion – standing together

Sixty-four million strong

Even after seven years in France

Humbled by this collective voice

Reverence for liberty will not be

Sacrificed for the illusion of security

Not in my name – others will

 

Humanity in black – in unity

Refusing to be silenced

Cohesion – sixty four million

Hearts beating strong

Terrorists – hear this

Truth, Equality and Freedom

Will not be sacrificed

Nor silenced by fanaticism – not by birth

But by heart, by choice, in thought

France I stand with you

Home of my heart

I stand with thee

We stand together

NOUS SOMMES TOUS CHARLIE

In solidarity 

Léa

 

With gratitude to Mélanie at: https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/. Without her help with translations, this post would not have been possible. Please stop by and visit her and you will be delighted!

mon voisin aime me taquiner / my neighbour likes to tease me

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn.”   –  Jane Austen

 

“Listen, you only tease the ones you love.”   –  John Boehner

 

“I have an intense dislike for artificial society. In France, one could lead a free life – to do what one wanted to do without interference or criticism from one’s neighbors.”   –   Robert W. Service

 

Symbol d'Occitan
Symbol d’Occitan

 

mon voisin aime me taquiner / my neighbour likes to tease me

jean est taquiner moi

he delights in telling

le monde

says i am a spy

for obama

the twinkling

dans ses yeux,

illuminating smile

gives him away

everytime

the hard rods of

steel

he shapes into

gates, railings,

le croix de Cathar

or the symbol of the

pays d’ Occitan

the flames of the

forge

a mask

outside

l’ atelier

le masque

tombe

*

bisous,

léa

Hero: Women’s History Month

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”   –  Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

...
Back row: Shirley, Beverly, Dale, Barbara, Donna – Front row: Iris with mother, Irene

Hero: Women’s History Month

– 

Too young

To be a wife

Too young

To have six

Children

Too young

To be a widow

During a

Depression

That rocked

A nation

Dust-bowl days

Too young

But she did it

Anyway

Working two

Or three jobs

Even the oldest

Child, quite young

Early morning

Milk run

Driving a cart

About town

The youngest bundled-up

Along for the ride

Taking in laundry

Yet always made

Time for games and lessons

Much later, when I was born

Offering to mother me

Nighttime work

Running the projector

Rex Theatre on Court Street

Sweeping up popcorn

After the show

Weekends scraping gum

Off the bottom of seats

Renting out an empty room

For hunters

In season

Always a sparkle

In those bright blue eyes

The first to welcome you

Hugs and kisses

Never rationed, regardless

Of what might be

In short supply

Great riches

Packed within

Diminutive form

Irene

Dear great-aunt

Despite their efforts

That I should never know you

We were found

With only a few years

Before your death

101 years young

Your arms reached out

Without conditions

Nor question

Giving my heart

At last, a home

And the mother

I never had

Bisous,

Léa