Sunday, November 16, 2008

I was inspired by a Magpie!!

My friend, Sheila, just restarted her fabulous, inspiring blog, the quintessential magpie, and I was so inspired by her love of books and poetry that I felt compelled to share one of my favorite poems. I feel like I can hear his Mother speaking directly to me. I was raised by a wonderful black woman, Alvenia White, and I cannot express how much I loved her. She was essentially my Mother until I was eleven years old. I will never forget how I cried when I was going to have leave her and go to kindergarten. I was so miserable that after two days they let me come home and stay with her. Back then, you know kindergarten was optional. I could cry just thinking about the love and comfort that she gave me. She taught me everything that I ever needed to know like how to be joyful, fun loving, and respectful. You did not disobey nor did you really want to because you did not want to risk her displeasure because life was so fun when she was around. I can remember as a child struggling over the fact that I loved her more than my actual mother. It was only as an adult that I realized what a gift it was to have a white Mother and a black Mother. I am truly blessed and now that I am a mother, I say and teach my children things that flow from the well springs of both of these ladies. They are both so intertwined in my life that I cannot really differentiate between the two. To close, God is and was so great to have given me such a life.

A Mother to Son By Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.It's had tacks in it,And splinters,And boards torn up,And places with no carpet on the floor --Bare.But all the timeI'se been a-climbin' on,And reachin' landin's,And turnin' corners,And sometimes goin' in the darkWhere there ain't been no light.So boy, don't you turn back.Don't you set down on the steps'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.Don't you fall now --For I'se still goin', honey,I'se still climbin',And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Hey, Mrs. Mermaid!

Awwww... glad Mrs. Magpie inspired you to read some of your favorite poems.

I adore Langston Hughes, too, and this poem reminds me of being a graduate teaching assistant in college. I had a student who was probably the best student in oral interp ever, and I can still see and hear him reading this in his wonderful baritone voice. Of course, tears were trickling down my cheeks. I'm sure the students thought I was nuts, but most of them were too teary to notice.

I love the imagery in this poem: "Life for me ain't been no cystal stair. It's had tacks in it and splinters, and boards torn up..." Yet, she keeps climbing. I have this image in my head of a woman who has taken everything life has thrown her way and not given in, but picks herself up by her bootstraps and keeps climbing, encouraging her son in the process. I also love Hughes' poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." No wonder he was/is considered the black poet laureate!

Glad you stopped by my little nest. Please come back and see me again. Mr. Magpie helped me with today's post. He was the hand model! ;-)



Southern Lady said...

Hi, Kim ...

Thank you for your gracious comment on my "Southern Lagniappe" blog. I'm so glad it led me to yours.

I loved the inspiring poem by Langston Hughes and hope to read more by him.

Alvenia sounds like one of a kind and, bless your heart, I'm so glad they let you come home from kindergarten to be with her.

I enjoyed discovering your "Ticklish Mermaids" and look forward to visiting again.



The Quintessential Magpie said...

Kim, I came back over to post because I was too choked up over what you said about Alvenia to post about it. It was eloquent, heartfelt, and a real tribute to her love. If you are the result of her nurturing, then she must have been a very special person.

I was blessed, too, to have several black women who helped to shape my life and are gone now. Maybe someday, I will be able to express what they meant to me in words as well as you did.

I was asked to deliver part of the eulogy at Marie Moore's funeral, and I was crying so hard that I have no idea what I actually said. Her picture and Jessie Johnson's are on my refrigerator along with those of some of my favorite scenes of childhood. Sentimal scmuck that I am. ;-)

Big hugs,


ShabbyInTheCity said...

Just yesterday we got to see my husband's 'Nanny'...that is Lucy...from his childhood. She helped me some after my babies were born and now has the beginnings of Alzheimer's. We hadn't seen her in 9 years and I cannot tell you what her hug felt like! I have always known she was an angel and to hug her is just unreal! Well you did write a great post that tells of your love for both women :)

Ticklish Mermaids said...

I am constantly astounded by man and God's capacity to give and receive love! It is such a blessing to love and be loved.