South Carolina occasion

Every now & then (occasionally) my infinite knit-parade project (Ravenna Diagram) intersects with current events, and then we have an occasional poem.  This one has to do with the terrible sadness which took place at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.  I am deeply impressed with how that embattled congregation spoke with one voice of courage and forgiveness after what was done there.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

This poem, as with most things I come up with, has its obscurities.  I'm thinking of the "Old Glory" as opposed to the Confederate flag, and of Jasper Johns, who lived in South Carolina (where I once saw an exhibit of his work at the Greenville Art Museum).  Johns layered encaustic over his U.S. flag icons, and shrouded scraps of old newspaper columns and images under the paint.  His figures of hands, circles and seemingly drowning men (see Hart Crane's poetry) connect with the image (in this poem) of a deep whale-hum or humming bird (Jonah means "dove" in Hebrew) - sending a different, more substantial message (of love, not hate).

The poem was composed at my temporary work-station (see photo), on a ridge overlooking the Blackstone/Seekonk River (while my house is being painted).


The tiny whiz-bird hums & floats,
hovering over my rose
pontoon, her paradise.
A flint blade chimes bell-notes

out of Grime’s Graves (neolithic).
By the grey Blackstone
Hilario J. Robin
snake-charms knotty hillside oak –

dauntless redbreast, passionate
Guillem d’Orange.  Whose cell
is gathering mass (black
wholeful o’moss) in triplicate

like an Old Glory spun of Greenville
jasper – caustic wax
to burn each switchback’s
cussed fer-de-lance (eternal

jail) into a trillion spangle-tiers
of morning (milky spider-
barn).  Haul it down before
nightfall.  The soul in tatters

seeks a deeper, quieter call –
Jonah’s Pacific hum
from whale profundum – bee-
balm croon for Memphis Emanuel.

Will set you free.  Sweetly now
the offspring of the sun
are fielded, droning, into
one (farfalla-Gaspee... rain bough).


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