Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, October 31, 2008

America: Michael Harper, Claude McKay

Today, the daddy is feeling America. It's getting close to electing its next president. It will be either Sen. John McCain, a white, older somewhat dour individual born into an upper-class military family who became a war hero, or Barack Obama, a black, young, charming intellectual born into a poor family witha mother who used food stamps and a father who was never at home. Yet, he went on to become a professor of law, a State senator, and a United States Senator.

The daddy is thinking about America from the perspectives of African Americans, those who, more than likely, know what it means to come from the lower income level of America, the poor, the despised.

Michael Harper (above, on the right) is a kind of a middle-of- the-roader, something between an academic poet and what I call a people's poet, one who speaks from the perspective of the working man or woman, the oppressed, the ones viewed as "the least of these." His poem "American History" speaks of a piviotal point in American history: the bombing of a church in Alabama in which four black girls were killed. He connects it to the Middle Passage, another painful period in American history.

Claude Mckay (above, on the left) was born in James Hill, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1889 on a family farm. Having heard of the great work of Dr. Booker T. Washington, McKay came to the United States to attend Tuskegee Institute, in Tuskegee, Alabama, the institute developed by Dr. Washington. But the reality of American racism in the South proved to be too much for him. After a few months, he gladly went to Kansas State University to study Agriculture.

In the early 1930's, McKay became attracted to communism, and lived in Russia and France until 1934. Then he came back to the United States, settling in Harlem. There he wrote and became involved with local leaders in the area. And his writing won the respect of younger African American writers, helping to set the stage for the Harlem Renaissance.

American History
by Michael Harper

Those four black girls blown up
in that black church
remind me of five hundred
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn't find them.
Can't find what you can't see
Can you?

by Claude McKay

Although se feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks in my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breadth of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
He bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand with her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

You should read Michael Harpers and Audience of One, my fav book of poetry by him

great post

MacDaddy said...

torrance: I'm on my way to the bookstore today. I'll look for it. Still working on getting my own book of poetry published. I'll include one or more of the poems tomorrow. Keep up the good work over at Rawdawg, my brotha.