Monday, February 14, 2011

a poem and the color purple

For that which I did not see
That trailed along behind me
And made the yellow blades of grass
Whisper and chant and shuffle

I met it eye to eye that day
And lived to tell the tale,
And forced a pact between us
That no more shall be snatched

The pact was a mere child’s pretend
And soon I came to see
That all I loved and held to me
Was never mine at all

Now as the red sun bows down
And my shadow grows thin and long
The familiar stir is once again alive
In blades of yellow grass

Come out and see me standing here
I will not dodge or fall
But stare thee down with a tear stained face
And hand thee what you ask

But haste not to depart and vanish
Into the thin yellow blades of grass
I have a yet a whispered word
For you to take along into the night

See the hill where the red sun rests
That too is my place and home
You stalk me now and claim my very breath,
But there you shall loose it all.

And life once again will fill my womb
And my grain basket will overflow
For that which I’ve longed to see
My eyes will behold in full.

Alice Walker has given a precious gift to many and especially to black women and girls, that I came across as a little girl called “The Color Purple”. I caught it on T.V this past weekend. Justin and I watched it together after putting our son to bed. We of course both had tears in our eyes by the end of the film. A different part of the story stays with me every time I spend time with it. This time I was gripped by Sofia’s response to Celie’s speech, after Celie finally takes her power back from Albert her oppressor. Sofia ‘s character says these lines:

“Sat in that jail, I sat in that jail til I near about done rot to death. I know what it like to wanna go somewhere and cain't. I know what it like to wanna sing... and have it beat out 'ya. I want to thank you, Miss Celie, fo everything you done for me. I 'members that day in the store with Miss Millie - I's feelin' real down. I's feelin' mighty bad. And when I seed you - I know'd there is a God. I know'd there is a God"(The Color Purple, 1985)