Saturday, October 15, 2005

Autumn in the Graveyard

Autumn in the Graveyard

Have you ever been to a colored funeral?
It's like Autumn in the graveyard:

Feathered Sunday hats are held high, defiant
over acorn faces, smooth with pain.
Mothers and Aunties, weak-kneed, wail
to the ground like wind blown leaves.

Mahogany patterns skirt their feet, creased by grief
and the air is crisp, scented with winter planting.
Turnips are turned, left in favor of greens.

And there is wind.

Limbs sway with cold keening for the locust,
though their songs may have interrupted dreams,
for sleepless is yet preferable to dead.

Tagged: , , , , ,


  1. heh... definitely not a finished product - I mean, why are there turnips in the graveyard? Stupid Erin... stupid stupid stupid.

    consider this one a work in progress.

  2. Erin, I like the start to this, but the final stanza seems almost... forced... separate... not sure. It just doesn't seem like the natural ending.

    The imagery is beautiful throughout, but I do have to admit that I didn't get the turnip bit. Just didn't see the connection, other than I envisioned this as a black funeral, and the stereotype is that black folk love them some turnip greens.
    Sometimes I wonder what the thought process is that brings a writer to an image. Sometimes I even wonder where my own written images come from.

    Anyway, toddler melt-down in progress! Can't wait to read the revision.

  3. This isn't finished???
    I loved it. But I guess I don't know much about poems yet. Still learning :)

    In any event, I thought the analogy was amazing. I never heard of that before. I loved the imagery, I could see it. It was very vivid and strong.

  4. Ang~
    That's exactly the problem, the end is forced. The turnip reference was intended to be a sensory reference though, not really an ethnic one. Down here they eat the turnip greens, and the turnips get tilled under to fertilize the fields come October-ish. It results in a very vivid smell - fresh earth and raw turnips that have been chopped up by the farm equipment... Unfortunately, those turnips just don't fit in the graveyard eh?

    Thanks dear! I love to hear that the imagery in my pieces work, unfortunately, my pieces just don't fit together here. S'ok, I'll work on a rewrite and repost the revision.

  5. Erin, upon re-read, I actually sort of like the turnip line. Guess I didn't soak this one in enough on first read. Sorry. I'll keep my comments to myself from now on, until I read a couple more times. :)

    And I didn't get the whole "colored" thing at first, simply because that's a word I haven't heard used in so long. I assumed that this was describing a black funeral, but didn't connect the two at first.

    Jeez, I feel like an idiot.

  6. hi e / do you have any idea why i can't get into mtc

    can you email me / my comp crashed last month & i'm still
    missing everyone's email addy

    btw / have you ever been hypnotized??? lol

    hope you are well


  7. Jenn~ Consider yourself emailed ;)

    Don't recant on your initial reservations, I agree with them whole heartedly. I like the turnip thing too, just not in this piece lol!

  8. Turnips didn't bother me. My first problem was the use of colored. Because it hasn't been used in such a long time, I got a totally different read the first time and wondered why you didn't use colorful. My second issue is the skirts followed by the air. For some reason, they don't belong together. The third part of the last line is excellent. I didn't feel it was forced, but I won't argue with the two of you about it.

  9. I use "colored" and the connotations that come with it, intentionally. The mind is supposed to switch back and forth from an old-time african american funeral to the images and colors of fall. I'm drawing a parallel between the pride and beauty of the black culture and that of autumn. There is something irrevocably alive about black women in particular, something passionate, even (especially) when dealing with death, which is what I'm drawing on here.

    Unfortunately, I'm a long way yet from where I want to be, and most likely, this piece shouldn't have even been posted yet, but once it's out there for the world to read I feel a different brand of urgency about polishing a piece, so posting is forcing me to do what I couldn't when it was saved as a draft - which is to see this from a reader's POV.

    Thanks for all the input. This piece has already changed a great deal, I'm just hiding the next version a bit longer.