Writing 201: Poetry – Day 6 Weekend Fun

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The weekend assignment is to post a poem that you love written by someone else. I have chosen “The Mask” by my favorite poet, Maya Angelou. This was inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask”, proving even the best writers are inspired by their peers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Oh and I even included a video of her reciting her poem!

The Mask
by Maya Angelou

When I think about myself
I almost laugh myself to death.
My life has been one great big joke!
A dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke.
I laugh so hard HA! HA! I almos’ choke
When I think about myself.

Seventy years in these folks’ world
The child I works for calls me girl
I say “HA! HA! HA! Yes ma’am!”
For workin’s sake
I’m too proud to bend and
Too poor to break
So…I laugh! Until my stomach ache
When I think about myself.
My folks can make me split my side
I laugh so hard, HA! HA! I nearly died
The tales they tell sound just like lying
They grow the fruit but eat the rind.
Hmm huh! I laugh uhuh huh huh…
Until I start to cry when I think about myself
And my folks and the children.

We wear the mask that grins and lies.
It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes.
This debt we pay to human guile
With torn and bleeding hearts…
We smile and mouth the myriad subtleties.
Why should the world think otherwise
In counting all our tears and sighs.
Nay let them only see us while
We wear the mask.

We smile but oh my God
Our tears to thee from tortured souls arise
And we sing Oh Baby doll, now we sing…
The clay is vile beneath our feet
And long the mile
But let the world think otherwise.
We wear the mask.

My fathers sit on benches,
Their flesh count every plank,
The slats leave dents of darkness
Deep in their withered flank.
And they gnarled like broken candles,
All waxed and burned profound.
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.

There in those pleated faces
I see the auction block
The chains and slavery’s coffles
The whip and lash and stock.

My fathers speak in voices
That shred my fact and sound
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.

They laugh to conceal their crying,
They shuffle through their dreams
They stepped ’n fetched a country
And wrote the blues in screams.
I understand their meaning,
It could an did derive
From living on the edge of death
They kept my race alive
By wearing the mask! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Notes:

An adaptation of the poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask”

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should that world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, oh my God, our cries
To Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh, the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world think otherwise,
We wear the mask.

Writing 201: Poetry – Elegy – Day 5

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My choice may seem unusual for an assignment on fog, but Whitney has been on my spirit all day. Though I loved her music, I was never a huge fan. Of course I followed her life and liked her, but it was never on a Stan level. I can’t explain it, but I needed to hear her voice today so I listened to her on my iPod this morning and then I read the assignment and decided to express this feeling through poetry. 2 for 1:

Today’s assignment is as follows:

Today’s prompt: fog
Today’s form: elegy
Today’s device: metaphor

Missing Nippy

You’re an enigma the more time goes by without you
More questions than answers fog my mind
Your voice tickles my eardrums through technology
Ahh, those melodic memories of Nippy.

Writing 201: Poetry – Trust – Acrostic Day 3

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trust

Today’s Assignment

• Prompt – Trust
• Kind – Acrostic
• How – Internal Rhyme

I Need ACTION

All of those words are just gums flapping cause you
Can’t buy my hand;shoulda, coulda, woulda won’t do;
TRUST must be earned before you call me Boo.
I need to see action to convince me you’re not crazy.
Once you’re in, you’re in and it’s all gravy, but you
Need to come through.