Thursday, August 28, 2008

Poem for an historic moment

Did you watch Barack Obama accept the Democratic nomination for President last night? It was quite a moment in history to watch this young, African American Senator speak to an audience of some 80,000+ in Denver about his vision for the future. Of course we must make a poem connection! I think this excerpt from a lovely, long poem by Carole Boston Weatherford is perfect. It’s from her poetic homage to African American history, Remember the Bridge (2002), and is the end poem in this striking picture book collection illustrated with amazing iconic photographs and images.

I Am the Bridge (excerpt)
by Carole Boston Weatherford

The poem begins:

The bridge is men and women,
famous and unknown,
leaving paths of memories,
timeless stepping stones.
I follow in the shadows
of heroes without names
and keep the faith of elders
who lean on hickory canes.

And ends with:

The river to tomorrow
is as long as it is wide;
the bridge will get me over,
see me to the other side.
The past is the foundation,
the future the next span.
We’ll bridge the mighty river;
brothers, sisters, hand in hand.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2002. Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People. New York: Philomel, p. 50.

Each poem in this collection is a gem and I’ve highlighted two others in the past:
April 26, 2007 Marilyn Nelson’s birthday
*Pair Marilyn Nelson’s Carver: A Life In Poems (Front Street, 2001) with Carole Boston Weatherford’s Remember the Bridge (Philomel, 2002).
Dec. 1, 2006 Rosa Parks Day
*In honor of Rosa Parks Day, share “Rosa Parks” by Carole Boston Weatherford from Remember the Bridge (Philomel, 2002).

And check out Carole's Web site, too! You may remember that her book, Birmingham, 1963 won the Lee Bennett Hopkins award last year. She has a new 2008 book, Becoming Billie Holiday that I'll be reviewing shortly (I loved it!).

For more Poetry Friday fun, go to Charlotte's Library.

Picture credit: www.freshnessmag.com

6 comments:

Jim D said...

Thanks for the post Sylvia. I foresee a trip to the library to read more of her work!

Jim

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jim. I'm a big fan of Carole's and think she is a poet to watch!

Carole Weatherford said...

Those lines do ring true. Thanks for making the connection for us, Sylvia. I am in awe of history in the making.

Sylvia Vardell said...

How lovely to hear from you, Carole. Thank YOU For this beautiful poem. I feel the awe, too.
Sylvia

laurasalas said...

This is gorgeous. Will have to find this book. Thanks, Sylvia, for introducing me to it.

Favorite lines from your excerpt:

I follow in the shadows/
of heroes without names

Amazing.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Laura, thanks for your response. This is a very special collection, I agree, and the poem in its entirety is even more wonderful-- with even more lyrical examples of the history Obama shares.
Sylvia