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White Church


Poemme

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Poemme

WHITE CHURCH

When you hear singing

Coming from the old white church

Where the bell tolled

Early in the morning

 

Beneath the palms

Just like the Bible

Waving the breeze

Before the prophet

 

You would not know

Of the woman who died in labour

And the children gone pale

Who waited outside

 

Listening to the cries

Then the long silence.

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I’ve read this a number of times. It immediately caught my attention because it has a Carribean feel and reminds me of when I was in Florida. The backdrop of colonialism is detectable and very much enjoyed.

Tony 

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Poemme
11 hours ago, tonyv said:

I’ve read this a number of times. It immediately caught my attention because it has a Carribean feel and reminds me of when I was in Folrida. The backdrop of colonialism is detectable and very much enjoyed.

Tony 

 

 

Thanks for replying. That’s not the first time someone has mentioned colonialism. I guess if you put a church in that environment the sense of colonialism is bound to come up. I’m sure students in some literature unit would be able to write a long essay on this. Which is interesting, how the floor of a poem can be opened up to expose so many ideas and reverberations. And why some say a poem like this could be extended. But I think I prefer the unstable floor to explication.

Just as an aside: it seems very quiet here and the only response I’ve had is from you. Is it always like this, or have things changed over the years?

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I wasn’t making any kind of judgement re the poem and/or colonialism. It was just an observation. I loved the scene, the setting, and how it made me feel: excited. 
 

20 hours ago, Poemme said:

Just as an aside: it seems very quiet here and the only response I’ve had is from you. Is it always like this, or have things changed over the years?

Yes, it’s slow here now, not the way it has been in the past. Still, I make no apologies for myself or anyone else. I can’t control what others say or do, nor do I want to. I value everyone who participates here. I’m in this for the long haul. From time to time I may seem absent, but as I’ve said to others, if you go on the internet and find this site, then I’m around. In the moment, I lack the wherewithal for constant or even minimal engagement. Take that as you may. I’m here to welcome you, and your work is good. Do as you wish with the site. 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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James Albert Barr

Such a powerful poem! With short, succinct lines, reminding me of William Carlos Williams' poetry, that seem to span through the historical implications of privileged humanity's righteous hypocrisy and imposed class struggle. The last six lines were particularly gut-punching, regarding those unfortunates outside the spoils of history's caste system, given the initial set-up of a seemingly humble, yet insular, church setting transitioning to a biblical allusion that, for me, suggests an ostracized Moses standing before the ostentatious Ramesses II as his slaves waft a couple of palm fronds above his decorated, Egyptian head.

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Poemme

Thanks for reading and commenting. It always confirms the potential of poetry for saying so much with so little.

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It is an old story you tell in this poem. The utterly stark and simple language enhance the telling, one in which elaborate image and/or metaphor would not serve as well.  A very common experience for pioneer women (in North America) , who normally gave birth to many children, with a usual one in eight chance of dying in childbirth. It was not much better for higher society women.

The church as setting is slightly unusual, but it works.

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