First the bass, small waves
slapping slapping slapping
at the edge of a melody.
Next men's voices enter
chanting chanting chanting
soft as women walking.
Then the melody comes
dancing dancing dancing
in from the right hand,
and coolness comes
tinkling tinkling tinkling
in a shower of bells.

Then he enters, kofia-crowned
name sake of the ancient god kings,
up from the sacred heart of the Nile
and a talking wind down from heaven,
plucks a river reed and blows
wailing first man shaman
from darkest Jim Crow Arkansas
mounted by the Creator.
Sounds leap and bound from his horn.
Lions roar and elephants shriek.
Savannah heat rolls over you.

He stands like Kilimanjaro,
snow capped, making his own weather.
He lifts his brass ax and blows
black storms, bright with thunder,
clouds of startled birds wheeling
and calling as the rain turns gentle.
The band is a rolling ocean,
calm or wild as the weather blows
but never still, always rolling,
a rocking lullaby for wanderers.
Reed boats carry Pharaoh’s people
to the land of new pyramids.

This one I'm still working on at the margins, but I thought I'd toss it out here for any reader comments. Remember, this is my working journal.

Revision 3. Thanks for the writers at Splashhall Poetry for their suggestions.

1 comment:

janetleigh said...

I love how the words feel in my mouth while reading this out loud, Mark. I'm going to want to read this a number of times, to pick up what I've missed on first reading, so I can get up close to savor the imagery, but intuitively I know this is great writing! Repetition really works in this poem..