Friday, September 1, 2023

The Shape of Forever poem

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit radiant Ramona at Pleasures from the Page for Roundup.

"Kossola" art in lobby
Last week we escaped to the coast...and roasted! We feasted on seafood (including some crab we trapped ourselves!) and also visited The Africatown Heritage House. As anticipated, it was a powerful experience—especially the final part of the exhibit which features names of the shipmates etched in glass along with audio of descendants saying the names aloud. Kossola "Cudjo" Lewis along with all of the characters in Africa Town are included. However, the majority of those 110 names are "unknown." Heartstopping.

This week's ArtSpeak: LIGHT poem is an exploration into an ambiguous word. What does "forever" really mean? It's kind of hard to pin down, but poetry helps. Thanks so much for reading!

The Shape of Forever

a thousand box windows
cannot hold sun's eye

a study of light
yields a city of questions

if you paint a bridge
it may bleed,
but it will not crumble

a hole is a circle

so is my heart

- Irene Latham


  1. I can imagine the powerful emotions of that moment in The Africatown Heritage House, Irene. It will stay with you, I'm sure. And such unexpected pairings in The Shape of Forever. They make you pause and think.

  2. Irene, I am about halfway through reading African Town, and I am interested to learn there is an Africatown Heritage House. I am going to follow your link to read more about it. I feel like I have met Kossola now from Charles's and your writing. It is such a tragic part of our history, that continues to play out every day. I also admire how you are able to look so deeply into artwork and read its story.

  3. How wonderful that you visited the Africatown Heritage House, Irene. I agree that it must have been good to see those familiar names but solemn to realize how few are known. Defining 'forever' is a challenge, right? I like the idea of 'windows', a seeing out that you started with. Enjoy your weekend & happy September.

  4. After the time you spent with writing about Africatown, you are a descendent as well. I'm sure your visit was deeply moving. That portrait is amazing. Your poem allows the reader to put their hands over yours to feel forever. Beautiful.

  5. Irene, beautiful images of what forever is. I'm so glad you got to visit The Africatown Heritage House. It sounds like a chilling experience. I'm so glad it is there.

  6. So glad you got to visit The Africatown Heritage House.
    "a study of light
    yields a city of questions"
    is my favorite part of your poem. And, my preordered copy of The Museum of the Moon arrived yesterday! It's so lovely to have the actual book in my hands - I've been pouring over it all morning.

  7. Irene, visiting the Africatown Heritage House must have been such a moving experience for you. I have not yet read your book, but am looking forward to it. I like the image poem, and I am assuming you made the art. The ending: "a hole is a circle/so is my heart" is ambiguous enough to make me wonder if the speaker's heart is a circle, or perhaps a hole. It could be interpreted either way, leaving the reader with two different emotions!


Your thoughts?