TALK TO THE DADDY

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?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Poem of Inspiration: The Creation

"I will not allow one prejudiced person or one million or one hundred million to blight my life. I will not let prejudice or any of its attendant humiliations and injustices bear me down to spiritual defeat. My inner life is mine, and I shall defend and maintain its integrity against all the powers of hell."
--James Weldon Johnson

Today, this Sunday, the daddy feels he needs a spark, some inspiration. He's feeling a poem from James Weldon Johnson.
Author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, civil rights activists, Johnson was multi-talented in life and art. He wrote "Lift Every Voice and Sing, " considered the black national anthem. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. He was also a professor of literature at Fisk University.This piece is taken from "God's Trombone," a book of black sermons.


"The Creation"

And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I'm lonely -
I'll make me a world.

And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That's good!

Then God reached out and took the light in his hands,
And God rolled the light around in his hands
Until he made the sun;
And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said: That's good!

Then God himself stepped down -
And the sun was on his right hand,
And the moon was on his left;
The stars were clustered about his head,
And the earth was under his feet.
And God walked, and where he trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.

Then he stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And he spat out the seven seas -
He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed -
He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled -
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.

Top Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around his shoulder.

Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth!
And quicker than God could drop his hand,
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods,
And split the air with their wings.
And God said: That's good!

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I'm lonely still.

Then God sat down -
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought: I'll make me a man!

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen. Amen.

------------

Primary Writings of James Weldon Johnson:

1. The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, 1912.
2. (Translator) Fernando Periquet, Goyescas; or, The Rival Lovers (opera libretto), 1915.
Fifty Years and Other Poems , 1917
3. (Editor) The Book of American Negro Poetry , 1922
4. (Editor) The Book of American Negro Spirituals , 1925
5. (Editor) The Second Book of Negro Spirituals , 1926
6. God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (poetry), 1927
7. Black Manhattan (nonfiction) 1930
8. Along This Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson, 1933
9. Contributed articles and poems to the Chicago Defender, Times-Union, New York Age, New York Times, Pittsburgh Courier, Savannah Tribune, The Century, The Crisis, The Nation, The Independent, Harper's, The Bookman, Forum, and Scholastic.

8 comments:

rainywalker said...

Tuesday will mark one year since my 30 year old daughters death in a car accident. James Welson Johnson's poem for me and this time of year is inspirational, its tells me that God created life and it can be snatched away by his will. We should always keep close those that we love and enjoy our time together, each day like it was our last. Thank you daddyBstrong, you have made me feel better and closer to my daughter.

Anonymous said...

Rainywalker,
I am so sorry for your profound loss. Perhaps it is no accident that the daddy would switch gears from money and politics and come to that peaceful place where perhaps a spark of communication would come from on high and soothe your spirit and bring you closer to your daughter, who lives in your heart forever. Peace and blessings to you.

MacDaddy said...

rainywalker: I, too, am sorry to hear of your loss. But it makes me feel good to know that you're keeping her in your heart.

What was her name? You know: there's an African proverb which says that, as long as you can say a person's name, they will not be forgotten.

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

good loook, i started the first news paper at atlanta university since James Weldon Jo0hnson - thanks for the memory

nicki nicki tembo said...

And isn't that why we come here? Because on any given day the daddy is subject to drop or share something so potent that it resonates within us.
Children are the world to me and so when I hear someone like rainywalker share their loss I am heartened. Here's a hug for you rainywalker!

rainywalker said...

Thank you everyone for your sincere comments. She was named after her grandmother, Christine.
wwwwendolbloggercom.blogspot.com/search?q=christine

MacDaddy said...

Christine. Thanks, rainywalker.
torrance: Love Atlanta University. I lived only a few blocks from it, but I couldn't afford to go. As I'm sure you remember, it was very expensive. But I loved it.
nicki: Thanks.

sdg1844 said...

I recited the last stanza of that poem in Grammar school. I have wonderful memories of standing on stage and being nervous, but happy.