Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: Baaba's Song

Night Vision

This was the poem that started what I now consider my "Writing Career." Although I had written some things before that, they were few and far between and never anything that I really did with purpose. But this poem, Baaba's Song, was written at a really painful, difficult time in my life 22 years ago. As I tearfully confessed my problems to a dear friend of mine and tried to express my anguish, he said, "Write. You know you're a writer. Write it out." It's the best advice anyone has ever given me.

I went home, not at all sure how or where to begin. I was staring at a ceramic Hungarian girl statue that I have, thinking how sad I'd be if she tumbled from the shelf and shattered. I don't know why I was thinking that... I just was. Sometimes I'm just weird that way.

Anyway, I related to the idea. I felt like I'd fallen off of a shelf, shattered, and there was no way to pick up all the pieces. I uttered the words, "Baaba fell from the shelf today..." And before I knew it the entire poem had tumbled out of me onto paper, exactly as it appears below. I've never made any edits, never felt it necessary.

By the way, Baaba was my "nanny" name, pronounced Ba (with an 'a' as in cat) - buh.

Baaba's Song

Smoke curls like a midnight train
out from her window frame.
She crushes the cigarette,
wipes at useless tears,
and hangs her head in shame.

Baaba fell
from the shelf today,
now just pieces on the floor.
She puts on her jacket,
takes a walk,
ends up knocking
on God's door.

On the street
where no one dares to sing
she goes looking for a tune,
and only finds
the death of innocence
beneath a hunter's silver moon.

She stops inside the cathedral,
screams in silence,
and hides her fists of rage.
Father Anthony looks at her,
shrugs his shoulders,
says it's just that way.

Baaba's come of age.

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

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