Thursday, July 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday: The Invisible Village

Ellie is poor, says Nisha
of a character in our book.
She is not, Lawanda counters.
She is like me and my family
And we are not poor
.

Who lengthens the spine
to the neck to
gaze in the mirror
saying—

I am poor.
I have nothing.
I lost my childhood to these streets.
Hope ran off with my single dream.
I see war on my front stoop.
I might be the next recruit.

This is the invisible village.

There will be no calvary,
no host of angels.
There will be no boot-strap assistance.

No.

But a girl may peek out
her back bedroom window
notice the perseverance of
a thin green vine and
find a downpour
of words
falling
to a blank page.

Consider how much we have been given
in this empty land.

. . . . . . . . . .

(This is still a work in progress. I stumbled upon the phrase "invisible village" in a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye and thought it spoke to the neighborhood where I work.)

11 Comments:

Blogger snowsparkle said...

hi ecm... i thought of you last night when i wrote "just boys; just a summer day" and wondered what your take on it might be.... i like your work in progress most especially for the reality check it gives me and my notions about the invisible village (great phrase by the way). i hope the boys have a teacher like you some day.

5:51 PM  
Blogger twitches said...

Maybe you don't need the first stanza? Then again, maybe you do. Just a thought. (And do you mean "peek" instead of "peak" or are you making a play on words?)

Nice work, as usual - I particulary like "boot-strap assistance" and "the perserverance of a thin green vine."

6:26 PM  
Blogger Beloved dreamer said...

Thanks for your kind words and yes it is the Lady herself. Your poem is very good, i will want to see where it is going.bd

6:29 PM  
Blogger ecm said...

Hi Twitches, thanks for the feedback. Peek was a typo...but I did think about if for a bit. I kind of like peak.
I wonder about the first stanza as well. It was that comment and the invisible village phrase that inspired me. Most people would say these kids are poor because of where they live. I wonder if anyone thinks of themselves as poor...

6:37 PM  
Blogger Cynthia E. Bagley said...

I know that when we lived in a trailer and brought food home from work (restaurant)... I assure you that we did not feel poor. Our bellies were full.

In fact, when we went to school and they wanted to feed us free food... we were insulted. We always thought of ourselves as middleclass instead of lowerclass.

:-)

7:06 PM  
Blogger jim said...

The lining here is very sharp, and it finely hones this iron-blooded poem. I'm leaning toward seconding Twitches' comment--just that that second stanza begins with that insinuating "Who," that draws in the reader immediately (and me, I'm someone inclined toward the narrative, to what you do in the first stanza). Really strong writing at work!

9:22 PM  
Blogger January said...

EMC, you really do have a gift for speaking for those without a voice.

I like the first stanza. It sets up the tone of the poem without saying too much. And the "invisible village" line fits in well with the first stanza. My favorite lines:

"Who lengthens the spine
to the neck to
gaze in the mirror
saying—"

At first I thought it was a reference to the book's spine--I liked that little bit of mystery.

I'm feel lucky to be able to read your work :)

10:35 PM  
Blogger Cate said...

You really moved me with this. I love what January wrote about speaking for those without a voice (yet!). Very powerful piece of writing.

I'm looking forward to scrolling through your archives!

5:06 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Thanks for visiting my blog ... I have just spent tim reading all your oems - great writing! This poem is particularly strong. I am looking forard to reading your work regularly. I am glad to find you!!

1:18 AM  
Anonymous susanna said...

You really do have a gift. :)

11:42 PM  
Anonymous susanna said...

You have me thinking of this poem...thinking how you could be describing a girl living in a war zone country in Africa or a dangerous neighborhood in America.

11:46 PM  

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