Posts Tagged ‘sorry for my blog-hiatuses’

The Sea = History

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Walcott is very awesome and I disagree that he is sexist for all you ladies out there who perceive his work as sexist.  I just think that he, like most poets transcend the notion of gender and if he loved a women then he loved her but he does consider the veil over people and he will not let a women trick him through lust for her.  On the other side of that a women could, rather than continue to feel trampled on by society, see themselves as having power over men because of the tools they possess-brains, seduction, being oppressed- women are the double edged sword, but please slice for good  and not for evil.  The man is a weak race that feels empowered when they belittle your powers so don’t be discouraged and read literature through the masculine lense that will always be there for you since the Man wrote History his way. Speaking of History I’d like to discuss “The Sea is History” because it brings in colonizing, Religion, and a bit of gender and I’m sure it could link to the long poem “The Schooner Flight” in several ways I just haven’t taken time to make the connections yet.  The Sea is Deep and so is “The Sea is History” but once you jump into the deep end you always wonder what it would feel like to touch the floor of the pool so I didn’t stop swimming until I felt something solid. What I retrieved from this piece has a lot to do with the search for Truth, a lot to do with the beginning of the Earth, a lot to do with The New and Old Testaments, a lot to do with Jesus, a lot to do with bodies of water.  When we think of bodies of water we think of people like Christopher Columbus and other Spanish colonizers who colonized and justified it through the spread of Christianity.  Walcott talks about “Sir’s” in this poem. I believe the “Sir’s” in this poem could possibly be colonizers(white male Dominance, enslavers, capitalists, chasers of gold, chasers of Truth by any means). Consider the questions that the Sir’s are asked: “Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs?/ Where is your tribal memory? Sirs” After addressing the Sirs Walcott takes us the notion of heaving oil- drawing oil from underground or even under water which is a capitalist effort nowadays. Walcott takes us through the Old Testament, starting with Genesis when God creates the world and appoints man as his regent, but man proves disobedient and God destroys his world through the Flood but preserves a righteous man, Noah, and his family. The new post-Flood world is equally corrupt, but God does not destroy it, instead calling one man, Abraham, to be the seed of its salvation(Wikipedia). The capitalist ship has set sail in the Third stanza “Caravel(spanish or Portuguese sailing vessel)/ and that was Genesis). However, there is some negativity associated with those caravel’s some packed cries, a little shit, some loud moaning and what not. Exodus, the second book of the bible is next when Moses leads the people out of Egypt.  Bone is addressed twice in this poem, first in the fourth stanza as being soldered by coral to bone but “benediction of the shark’s shadow” is even more interesting because the shark is similar to the whale in its uniqueness in how it is a massive scary creature but the difference is that it does not come up for air and that it is a predator of the water and must continue to swim to survive similar to capitalism in a way. Capitalism and business is ruthless and could care less about poor individuals. The better the fruit is for your health the more expensive it is. If the fruit is healthy and tastes good, double that. The Ark of the Convenant and the Ten Commandments are addressed in the fifth stanza (I would go line for line but I’m hoping you’ve read this far haha) “Then came the plucked wires of sunlight on the sea floor the plangent(loud) harps of the Babylonian bondage, as white cowries(the highly polished, usually brightly colored shell of a marine gastropod of the genus Cypraea,  as that of C. moneta (money cowrie)  used as money in certain parts of Asia and Africa, or that of C. tigris,  used for ornament(Dictionary) clustered like manacles(handcuffs) on the drowned women- so in the sixth stanza we have money and bondage, I’m not fond of math so you do it. The “drowned women”  could be women in general and their preoccupation with shiny things because the first line of the next stanza begins, “and those were the ivory bracelets” or we good escape the surface level interpretation and says it is in fact the Song of Solomon or the  Song of Songs (Old Testament) has often been interpreted as a parable of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, Christ and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife(Wikipedia).  In the tenth stanza capitalism is addressed again and so is the Flood: “of the tidal wave swallowing Port Royal(In the late 17th century it came to serve as the base of operations for buccaneers and privateers who raided the Spanish islands and ships. When the notorious Captain Henry Morgan(a Sir) established his headquarters there, the plundered gold poured in, followed by merchants and artisans who eagerly catered to all the appetites of the pirates (dictionary).)/ and that was Jonah(swallowed by the large fish for three days and then lived to tell about it) Question to the Sirs in the last line of the tenth stanza:”Where is your Renaissance-a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival (dictionary).? This questions is answered: “Sir, it is locked in them sea- sands out there past the reef’s moiling shelf, where the men-o-war floated down; strop(nautical word for strap) on these goggles, I’ll guide you there myself(Shabine like). I’ll now just point to major words that speak to my interpretation cause this is getting long:”Colonnades of coral”, “Weighted by its jewels”, “Gomorrah”- wicked place, please look up what the book of Lamentations was about in the bible!

I skipped to the major turn in the poem at the 18th stanza where “the spires lancing the side of God.” A spire is like the steeple at the top of a church or one could interpret this as the crucifixion of Christ on the cross. The next stanza is “as His (God’s) son set, and that was the New Testament. Women are brought back up, “White sisters clapping to the waves progress, and that was emancipation(equality between races, genders, etc.). Still no History, “only faith”-belief that Jesus rose from the dead, “then each rock broke into its own nation(Pangaea), “then came the synod(laws of the church, assembly)”

“with their sea pools, there was the sound like a rumor without any echo// of History, really beginning”- His Story or History.  I think Walcott is suggesting that the enslavers and colonizer’s History or Culture is that they were prophets for God even though they were enslaving people and stealing their land for capitalist reasons. Slaves were taught Christianity and were also abused on the bases of Christianity. Christianity became their only Hope for Freedom.

 

A Far Cry from Africa

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

As Julia’s earlier post touched on, Walcott seems to ground us as his audience most specifically in terms of location, often through his titles; however, in his piece “A Far Cry from Africa,” I found the notion of “Africa” to be much more abstracting than stabilizing. Rather than “Africa,” Walcott’s title maybe improved upon by being more specific to the REAL issue at hand: “A Far Cry from Africanness.” If this sounds silly and reductive, that’s because it is, linguistically. But on some level, isn’t this what Walcott is actually addressing in this piece?

In any case, it seemed awfully timely to focus on this piece right after the Multicultural Fair, because that is precisely what strikes me most about it– how poignantly and obviously MULTIcultural it is. The cultural awareness does not necessarily stem from racial differences, although that’s definitely a huge aspect of it– just the sheer number of times Walcott brings “whiteness” into the text stands out in itself. However, it is the idea of betrayal of one’s heritage rather than race that sticks out the most– “Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (27) This is reminiscent of some of the language Langston Hughes uses when he writes of his biracial background, and yet he has accepted and exemplified his own blackness in no uncertain terms. I think it is always difficult knowing “where to turn” in situations of multinational understanding of the self. Thoughts, yeses and nos?

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the first stanza of this piece has ten lines, the second has eleven, and the third has twelve? Weird… 🙂

Also, for your viewing/listening pleasure:

“Africa” by Toto, an 80s classic. I still can’t quite figure out what they’re talking about, though…