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Saturday, November 5, 2016

A song for your 'self'


“When you begin to write poems because you love language, because you love poetry. Something happens that makes you write poems. And the writing of poems is incredibly pleasurable and addictive.” – C. K. Williams (1939-2015)

A native of New Jersey, Williams came comparatively late to the writing of poetry, though he was encouraged by his father from an early age to read poems and learn them by heart. It was in penning a love poem at the age of 19 that Williams discovered a sense of vocation and from that moment on "knew that that was what I was going to do.”
His poetic style involved long flexible lines and                      
while he wrote on many topics, children, marriage and the ties of family were often his significant themes.   Among his many awards were the National Book Award for The Singing and a Pulitzer Prize for Repair.
For Saturday’s Poem, here is Williams’ 

The Singing

I was walking home down a hill near our house  
 on a balmy afternoon
under the blossoms
Of the pear trees that go flamboyantly mad here  
 every spring
with their burgeoning forth

When a young man
 turned in from a corner singing  
no it was more of a cadenced shouting
Most of which I couldn't catch
I thought because  
 the young man was
black speaking black

t didn't matter I could tell he was making his  
 song up which pleased me
he was nice-looking
Husky dressed in some style of big pants obviously  
 full of himself
hence his lyrical flowing over

We went along in the same direction then he noticed
 me there almost
beside him and "Big"
He shouted-sang "Big" and I thought how droll  
 to have my height
incorporated in his song

So I smiled but the face of the young man showed nothing  
 he looked
in fact pointedly away
And his song changed "I'm not a nice person" 
 he chanted "I'm not,
I'm not a nice person"

No menace was meant I gathered no particular threat 
 but he did want
to be certain I knew
That if my smile implied I conceived of anything like concord
between us I should forget it

That's all nothing else happened his song became  
 indecipherable to me
again he arrived
Where he was going a house where a girl in braids  
 waited for him on
the porch that was all

No one saw no one heard all the unasked and  
 unanswered questions
were left where they were
It occurred to me
 to sing back "I'm not a nice  
person either" but I
couldn't come up with a tune

Besides I wouldn't have meant it nor he have believed  
 it both of us
knew just where we were
In the duet we composed the equation we made  
 the conventions to
which we were condemned

Sometimes it feels even when no one is there that  
 someone something
is watching and listening
Someone to rectify redo remake this time again though  
 no one saw nor
heard no one was there












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