I wrote a poem about Zora Neal Hurston this morning. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my favorite books of all time, and while I was on vacation, I picked up a few postcards of author’s I liked from this little bookstore in Manteo. This is one of the first of my “writing” mornings where I did not come to school with an idea for a poem already in mind, so I was looking around my office and I started thinking about Ms. Hurtson and her book and there was my poem.
Our new dean came into my office a few weeks ago and remarked over the picture of Hurston on my wall. She and I had a brief conversation about the famous scene (recreated below) and how students often missed the obvious sexual implications:
She stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of visiting bees, the gold of the sun amd the panting break of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the rtee from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.
It is beautiful writing and the book is full of moments like this.
I am taking six students to Stratford Ontario (along with another staff member) for the Shakespeare Festival. We’re leaving October 23rd and returning October 25th. The interest in the trip is tremendous so far, and I’m looking forward to experiencing this great opportunity with some of our students. Therefore it seems appropriate that this sonnet came across my path the other day:
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful time;
But you sha;; shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
No Mars his sword not war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.