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The Body Reclining -- Grace Nichols

Guest poem submitted by Devyani Saltzman:
(Poem #1045) The Body Reclining
 I sing the body reclining
 I sing the throwing back of self
 I sing the cushioned head
 The fallen arm
 The lolling breast
 I sing the body reclining
 As an indolent continent

 I sing the body reclining
 I sing the easy breathing ribs
 I sing the horizontal neck
 I sing the slow-moving blood
 Sluggish as a river
 In its lower course

 I sing the weighing thighs
 The idle toes
 The liming knees
 I sing the body reclining
 As a wayward tree

 I sing the restful nerve

 Those who scrub and scrub
 incessantly
 corrupt the body

 Those who dust and dust
 incessantly
 also corrupt the body

 And are caught in the asylum
 Of their own making
 Therefore I sing the body reclining
-- Grace Nichols
"liming": West Indian expression for standing around, idling away the time.

What can I say... I was sitting in the library all day reading evolutionary
biology when I picked an anthology of Grace Nichols' poetry off the shelf.
She's a poet and writer from Guyana and has the most lovely flowing style.
All I can say is this poem is my new motto.

Devyani.

42 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Suresh Ramasubramanian said...

+++ Abraham Thomas [03/05/02 03:05 +0900]:
> Guest poem submitted by Devyani Saltzman,
> :
> "The Body Reclining"
> I sing the body reclining

[...]

This "I Sing" does sound a bit familiar to me, but I haven't seen it in all
that many poems. Hmm... ahh yes.

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
[...]
(Virgil's Aeneid, trans. by John Dryden)

Lu said...

It's from Walt Whitman's 'I sind the body electric' where he praises the body of an African American person when he becomes witness to a slave auction in his early days.

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