As a 50 year old undergrad English major, I have found myself squeezing the delight out of each moment of every class with a relish that I believe would be nearly impossible for a traditional student. The title and set up of this poem is a reflection of Adrienne Rich’s style in Snapshots of a Daughter-In-Law, but this time the snapshots are my own, those of my experiences as a non-traditional student in the Illinois State University English program. While alluding to other writers and writings, I simultaneously combined themes of my various classes along with the personalities facilitating some of those classes. The said personalities could never, even if they tried a million years, be objective. That is to say, any resemblance of words in the poem to names of living faculty is purely intentional.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Leaves of grass nodded and waved –
Open the door and step into our world, enjoying the trip, by Dicker.
Homophobia, racism, self-definition, revolutionary struggle -
Individual “–isms” with their challenges, opportunities and universalities,
Each of the whole owning tendencies spelled out victim, woe is me.
Greeted by tongue shaped weapons, wielding their choice,
Imprisoning, empowering to make them all wrong,
Impossible Reality, it doesn’t exist – create it just now for yourself,
For there is nothing either good or bad but that thinking makes it so.
Believing young minds lay wounded and closed –unable to sort it alone and by self,
Wise old Fortune, behind blind Shields, pretends insists ability to see
Ineffective indifference between night and day - condemning those that may.
Though born of mixed race - unashamed to present,
Clear water gushing as ointment over-ahh -
Cleansing Cruz’n crevice and crack, clean heart ‘n clear mind,
Listens to voices of single cells of the whole magnetically
Drawn by the imprint of father to son,
Because words without thoughts never to heaven do go.
Lord of the Dance, visiting earth, decked in verdant April with his shoures sote,
Asked them to dance along with the hills ‘n rivers of water aliving,
Through Roman to Gothic, arches surround, soprano boys’ tongues shaping celestial sound
Giving cause for a song with thoughts far beyond the reaches of our souls.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Robilatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy – or its utter and total lack.
Dance turned to stone and the Rock of all ages
Immovable Myth, Rood of the cross - triumphant in hallowed protection
Egyptian Eye of Horace bid welcome to Aeneas of west, Queen Himiko of east, and all wanderers of Caedmon’s call;
Nodding its almighty Head – a’seeing, agreeing, accepting of each,
The tender hearted Stone, sweating raindrops of blood and flesh
Grieving the best generations of minds destroyed by celebrating and singing of self,
Advocating impatience, saving yourself, and simple insatiability,
With the absolute heart of life butchered out of their bodies
In all languages they utter the same -
Crying the cry, “eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani?”
A raindrop of tear rolls down the Rock’s cheek
With the overwhelming question of insidious intent
Oh, please do just ask it; just shout out “What is it?”
And dare take the time to disturb the universe by making a visit.