In this post I asked you guys what title you'd give a poem written by Angel Girl. I got a few awesome titles, but I also got some perspective on the notion of titles and how to eat a poem. Linda said that a poem just is, and can exist quite well without a title, although, she pointed out, a poet may want to send his reader in a certain direction with a title. Geoffery noted that we can simply love a poem without poking and probing at it.
Lorna Goodison, a leading West Indian poet has done some very interesting things with titles as with poems; several of her titles are poems, stories by themselves, for example there is
- The woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son which uses irony to capture the betrayal of some 'role models' who send young men to commit crimes,
- and there is For my mother (May I Inherit Half her Strength) -the story of a woman who wasted (it seems to me) half her enormous strength on her sweet-talking man, and nurtured nine children with the other half.
-and then there is Annie Pengelly- what a weird name for a poem! A lawyer has filed a suit on Annie Pengelly's behalf against her tormentor- her white owner who deprived her of countless hours of sleep, now history owes her her rest.
Two of these poems are from her sixth collection To us All Flowers are Roses. The poem that bears the title is a magnificent invocation of many place names in Jamaica, most of which range from the silly to the sublime, but all of which reflect our robust personality. Enjoy the first two stanzas of the title poem:
To us all flowers are Roses
Accompong is Ashanti, root, Nyamekopon. Appropriate name, Accompong, meaning warrior or lone one. Accompong, home to bushmasters, bushmasters being maroons, maroons dwell in dense places deep mountainous well sealed strangers unwelcome. Me No Send You No Come.
I love so the names of this place how they spring brilliant like "roses" (to us all flowers are roses), engage you in flirtation. What is their meaning? Pronunciation? A strong young breeze that just takes these names like blossoms and waltz them around, turn and wheel them on the tongue.
For the rest of the poem she groups the names in various categories; those that originated from Europe, those from Africa, those from Israel, those that express our frustrations, those that reflect our eternal faith. So there are lines like:
"at Bloody Bay where they punctured balloons"
"Rhine and Calabar, Askenish where freed slaves went to claim what was left of the Africa within"
"and Wait a Bit, Wild Horses, Tan and See, Time and Patience, Unity"
"There is Amity and Friendship and Harmony Hall"
"and Tranquility and Content. May Pen"
If you want to read any of the poems in it's entirety, drop me an email from my profile. To get a peek into the collection To us all Flowers are Roses click this spot, and to chat with me about this post click the comments button below :-).