Friday, November 16, 2012

Enthralled on Poetry Friday

I have been reading my copy of Thrall by poet laureate Natasha Trethaway. Here are a few favorite bits to whet your appetite. Poetry lovers, you need this book!

More Poetry Friday with Anastasia Suen at Booktalking.

from "Taxonomy"

The canvas is a leaden sky
   behind them, heavy
with words, gold letters inscribing
   an equation of blood--

from "Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus; or, The Mulata"

She is the vessels on the table before her:
the copper pot tipped toward us, the withe pitcher
clutched in her hand, the black one edged in red
and upside-down. Bent over, she is the mortar,

from "Help, 1968"

when my mother took me for walks,
she was mistaken again and again
for my maid. Years later she told me
she'd say I was her daughter, and each time
strangers would stare in disbelief, then
empty the change from their pockets. Now

from "Geography"

my father and I walk the rails south
toward town. More than twenty years
gone, he's come back to see this place,
recollect what he's lost. What he recalls
of my childhood is here. We find it
in the brambles of blackberry, the coins
flattened on the tracks. We can't help it--

from "Rotation"

Once, he watched over me as I dreamed.
   How small I was. Back then,
he was already turning to go, waning
   like the moon that night--my father.


  1. "he was already turning to go, waning
    like the moon that night--my father"

    Love this!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yep, that line Anastasia picked got me, too. Thanks so much for sharing these, Doraine. Another book for my "to read" list!

  3. I'm wondering about this line:

    "each time
    strangers would stare in disbelief, then
    empty the change from their pockets."

    Why would they empty their change when they found out she wasn't the maid? (Sorry to be dense!)

    1. Trethaway was born to an African American mother and a white father. Even in the late 60s interracial marriage was not legal in Mississippi, so a white person would assume this woman was unmarried with an illegitimate child of a white man and needed charity to survive. That's my best guess. Anyone else from the Deep South reading that would want to add more clarity?

  4. Dori, I am drawn to nostagia, so like all these, but especially 'geography' and "We find it
    in the brambles of blackberry, the coins/flattened on the tracks." And thanks for sharing about this anthology.

  5. I put this one on my wish list. All the Natasha Trethewey poems I have read so far have been wonderful.

  6. "Help, 1968" is the one that speaks to me. How quickly we make assumptions about people based on their appearance!