Before we get started, be sure to visit Jane at Raincity Librarian to read the next line of this year's Progressive Poem!
Today I'm continuing my Harlem Renaissance poetry project with Aaron Douglas who was often called the “official artist of the Harlem Renaissance," or the “Father of Black American Art.”
Aaron Douglas illustrated many books during the 1920's, and I learned in the book HARLEM STOMP! by Laban Carrick Hill that his work came to embody all that the Harlem Renaissance stood for – the culturally rich aspects of African-American life and heritage. So for the first week of this project, I will be writing after his work.
"This Poem is A Dream" after Aspiration by Aaron Douglas
Today's piece is called Building More Stately Mansions. You can read more about the painting here. I knew right away I wanted to write something about/for builders, so I started looking for other builder poems. Here's what I found:
"The Builders" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"The Bridge Builder" by Will Allen Dromgoole
"They, the Builders of the Nation" sung by the Mormon Tabernacle
|stone picnic table at Palisades Park -|
someone had to build it!
And here is where I landed:
For the Builders
- after "Building More Stately Mansions" by Aaron Douglas
For your arched back,
your sandpaper mouth
and battered feet.
For every stone
For years, for hours –
we thank you.
For again and again.
For forging beauty,
For your relentless
- Irene Latham
Hooray for the "relentless / hammersong"s!ReplyDelete
My husband's uncle was a 'builder' & I know his 'tattered hands' from our visits. Now I know several architects, miracle workers to me that they can first imagine, then build. Lovely ode, Irene.ReplyDelete
You honor real people and real work, Irene. We should all remember how fortunate we are to have such diversity of talent around us. And not to live in those times where there would be no choice at all for too many. I love tattered/ battered. And your form. And your backstory/research. You inspire.ReplyDelete
Janet Clare F.
I have so many thoughts about this poem: 1. It reminds me of the way Walt Whitman celebrates each individual contribution; 2. The form makes me think of Langston Hughes. 3. Your poem inspires me as I think about migrant workers I knew when I taught in Arizona. I simply love the poem, the image of worker's hands, the celebratory tone, the repetition that suggests an ongoing action.ReplyDelete
"For forging beauty,ReplyDelete
This painting and this poem are both together. I love your hammersong, Irene!
Sometimes I just stand back, staring in awe at a set of stone steps or a big church or even a magnificent headstone. Someone built it...someones built it all. Thank you for this reminder. xReplyDelete
Your poem affected life?! Yes, you can share your lovely poem and its great "after story" with the world... Submit now https://www.LifePoemsProject.comReplyDelete
Gorgeous painting you picked Irene, I love listening to your poem and looking at the large image–your words and the image both breath together, thanks!ReplyDelete
Michelle is right, the painting is gorgeous, and, the artist used only one color plus white!ReplyDelete
Thanks for including the audio with your poems, Irene, it adds a whole other dimension!