Audre Lorde: Coal

24 Festive Tasks: Door 6 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Book:

A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick’s Day is groups of three “people” – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick’s Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not.  Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem.  The three “strangers” then decide if the children are telling the truth.  The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil.  So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.

 

Audre Lorde: Coal

I
Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart –
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

Love is a word another kind of open –
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

From The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (1997)
Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42577/coal

 

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