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Freedom of Speech and Censorship Part 2

cabcool
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cabcool said:

Clay, as in God's Hands forming man from the dust, is NOT vile, I agree.

The author is referring to the clay mask, BW! He is contrasting the imitation clay, the impervious outer layer, with the heart of flesh.  Clay does not feel, but flesh does.  By wearing the clay mask, the oppressed Black puts on a disguise that can stand up to the scrutiny and the pain while protecting his frail human condition underneath.

NB  You must look beneath the shallow visual appearances to perceive the deeper, hidden depths of the author's intent.  Otherwise, he has double-masked your intelligence as slaves did their master's with "Steal Away to Jesus."

I rest my case.


If you want a more literal interpretation of clay, I can give it to you, while maintaining my initial musings.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;


The author is not cursing clay, as in your confessed Catholic designation: he is simply saying it's a rough, rough ride on this footpath or life is tough and there are yet many miles to go.

That the clay is vile/beneath our feet is a cry against the hardships of just staying alive, like walking on a cruel earth or facing cruel circumstances.

Blackwolf
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Thank you for addressing my comment , Cabcool...

Okay , *if* that *is* what he meant , I could accept
that , coming from *you*...

However , just *how* are you sure of that ?

Did he write a paper on his own poem ?

Or was it from someone else , guessing at
his meaning , to make sense of it ?

I do not take critics words as truth , ever...

I need the *proof* to believe...I am *not* a *faith* based person...

( just call me , laughingly said , a *Thomas*  )

cabcool
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Blackwolf said:Thank you for addressing my comment , Cabcool...

Okay , *if* that *is* what he meant , I could accept
that , coming from *you*...

However , just *how* are you sure of that ?

Did he write a paper on his own poem ?

Or was it from someone else , guessing at
his meaning , to make sense of it ?

I do not take critics words as truth , ever...

I need the *proof* to believe...I am *not* a *faith* based person...

( just call me , laughingly said , a *Thomas*  )

Your argument is reasonable, BW.  I am relieved that you will accept evidence-based reasoning.  Hopefully, as did Doubtful Thomas at the evidence, you would be inclined to exclaim, "My Lord and my God!" when the nail prints confront you.

The thoughts I've expressed are based solely on my own analysis and interpretation; I did not read them anywhere.

As a college Lit major, myself a poet, I have had to detect subtleties and deep shades of meaning in literary works. Further, as a Music Ed major, myself a composer and former newspaper music critic, I have had to study motives and intents beyond the face value of how artists encode.

Take a look at my extended response, which offers a more literal interpretation of Paul Dunbar's mask...

Blackwolf
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Then , we may stand by differing opinions of poetic
interpretation , my friend , and I state that to others here...

I never attended college , yet I did not have to...

Firstly , I am not influenced by Catholic / Christian views ,
as I left them behind , after I turned thirteen , after priests
abused my fellow altar boys , and my father finally faced
my rebellion , against his beating me with a belt , mostly
daily , until the welts rose up on my body , and bled , only
because I would not , did not , agree , with his version of
Christianity...

So I cannot even think "my lord , my god" , without extreme
trauma , disbelief , and pain ,  let alone see anything in any
poem about some version of some "god" without my personal
view , or judgement , such as I have brought into play here...

If you have had a *positive* experience of *god* , as you
choose , or have been taught to see "him" , which has thus
allowed you to come to these conclusions about what others
have written , and espoused , so be it...

I have not , rather , very far from it...

I do not have a favorable view of one worshiped by many ,
nor of those who worship that so said to be real being...

I do not trust them , nor their words of praise , while their
actions show disrespect for the very life they claim was a
gift to us...therefore , I claim my version of his poem to be true...

That clay is seen to be beneath our feet , and lower than the
that which some claim "rises to some heaven" , thus seen as
*earthly* , and a negative in concept and relation...

I myself disavow , any person , belief , or organization , which
creates hierarchies of systems , intended to elevate those who
would blindly follow , than question , and disavow , words which
are intended to indoctrinate , and disallow questioning minds ;

I am not saying this is *your* intent and belief , *at all*...

I believe *you* are a *great soul*....that is my hope...

Yet , I *do not* blindly believe *anything*...

Thus , I accept your statement your opinion , is your view ,
yet I do not agree with your opinion of this poets words ,
nor Johnny , or Ahavati's views...

Respectfully , in this thread , that is my right , and I submit
my request for respect in this matter , as I have so given...

( enough said )

Ahavati
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* enough said * is correct. Your views have NOT been disrespected, BW. On the contrary, we simply requested that you respect those of others ( preferably without a dramatic production ).  I would've said nothing more, but you mentioned my name directly. As long as we're all straight now. . .

Thank you again for sharing, Cabcool.

Meanwhile. . .

Catholic priest in Indiana suspended for comparing Black Lives Matter to "maggots"

A bishop suspended a suburban Indianapolis Catholic priest from public ministry on Wednesday for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to "maggots and parasites" in a recent church bulletin. Bishop Timothy Doherty, of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, took the action against the Rev. Theodore Rothrock, of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel, for comments that the pastor wrote Sunday in the weekly bulletin.


"The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own," Rothrock wrote. "They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others. They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace any current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment."

[ . . . ]



https://www.cbsnews.com/news/priest-suspended-black-lives-matter-maggots-carmel-indiana/

JohnnyBlaze
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^ Utterly disgusting. i'm a man of few words today. That deserved even less than I gave it.

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Ahavati said:* enough said * is correct. Your views have NOT been disrespected, BW. On the contrary, we simply requested that you respect those of others ( preferably without a dramatic production ).  I would've said nothing more, but you mentioned my name directly. As long as we're all straight now. . .

Thank you again for sharing, Cabcool.

Meanwhile. . .

Catholic priest in Indiana suspended for comparing Black Lives Matter to "maggots"



https://www.cbsnews.com/news/priest-suspended-black-lives-matter-maggots-carmel-indiana/


Not even Trump did that.


cabcool
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JohnnyBlaze said:

It's an odd / interesting choice of word for the poem - clay. Normally we walk on soil ( or sand perhaps ), while the clay is deeper down. So It feels like there is some context we aren't privvy to.  


Just consider, JB:  the sculptor (anyone who is trying to eke out a living, to survive) cannot make masks from dust, but he can certainly shape clay.  When the clay is "vile," its molecules have coagulated to the point at which you can hardly manipulate it to do anything with it.  What is "deeper down" is what has settled at the bottom -- all of life's experiences that have shaped a person or a nation.

The writer is affirming his own (self)worth (the worth of Black folk); he could not, therefore, be saying that the clay is despicable.  He is saying that life is rough.

cabcool
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JohnnyBlaze said:

I honestly believe that it is no coincidence the BLM protests are erupting during the Covid 19 pandemic. It feels related somehow, which your eloquent post has hinted at.  Perhaps the surgical mask is a mass symbolic expression of unity and healing that serves both movements?


Thank you, JB; that's the point I want to make, indeed:  MASKS SAVE [Black, White, Blue, All] LIVES.  In "We Wear The Mask," Dunbar exposes a survival technique employed by otherwise "hopeless" slaves;  In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world teeters on the precarious edge -- unless we wear the mask.

As for the poem, it's skillfully written and flows smoothly. It is clearly formed, but follows no particular form that I am aware of.
Poets do express pathetic fallacy in their structures to mirror what is happening, in terms of content.  The topsy-turvy world of the disoriented slave is likely mirrored in what appears to be a topsy-curvy linear structure.  In reality, though, this is a 15-line poem, in which one line borrowed from stanza 2 is redressed in stanza 3.  Here is the rhyme/lnear scheme (A-B-C = rhyme; 1-2-3= line):

A We wear the mask that grins and lies, (1)
A It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— (2)
B This debt we pay to human guile; (3)
B With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, (4)
A And mouth with myriad subtleties. (5)

A Why should the world be over-wise, [1]
A In counting all our tears and sighs? [2]
B Nay, let them only see us, while [3]
      C We wear the mask. [4]

A We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries [5]
A To thee from tortured souls arise. [1]
B We sing, but oh the clay is vile [2]
B Beneath our feet, and long the mile; [3]
A But let the world dream otherwise, [4]
      C We wear the mask! [5]

I do question the use of the word "subtleties" - that may rhyme to the eyes, but not the ears. Unless it was pronounced as "ties" back in the day?
This is a literary device known as eye rhyme.  It is very common -- even yours truly use it in my poems, when it is called for.  Here's Shakespeare:

“Devouring time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood.”

Here's William Blake:

“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

Here's Percy Bysshe Shelley:

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Yours truly:

youthful
passions wane
as decades drown,
truthful
as the pain
of time fast-flown.


Discerning poets (I will not force myself into this group, if you think otherwise!) employ this device to inject sophistication in their work; it helps them to avoid sounding pedantic or mundane (the way sing-song rhymes might render them)..

cabcool
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Blackwolf said:Then , we may stand by differing opinions of poetic
interpretation , my friend , and I state that to others here...

I never attended college , yet I did not have to...

Firstly , I am not influenced by Catholic / Christian views ,
as I left them behind , after I turned thirteen , after priests
abused my fellow altar boys , and my father finally faced
my rebellion , against his beating me with a belt , mostly
daily , until the welts rose up on my body , and bled , only
because I would not , did not , agree , with his version of
Christianity...

So I cannot even think "my lord , my god" , without extreme
trauma , disbelief , and pain ,  let alone see anything in any
poem about some version of some "god" without my personal
view , or judgement , such as I have brought into play here...

If you have had a *positive* experience of *god* , as you
choose , or have been taught to see "him" , which has thus
allowed you to come to these conclusions about what others
have written , and espoused , so be it...

I have not , rather , very far from it...

I do not have a favorable view of one worshiped by many ,
nor of those who worship that so said to be real being...

I do not trust them , nor their words of praise , while their
actions show disrespect for the very life they claim was a
gift to us...therefore , I claim my version of his poem to be true...

That clay is seen to be beneath our feet , and lower than the
that which some claim "rises to some heaven" , thus seen as
*earthly* , and a negative in concept and relation...

I myself disavow , any person , belief , or organization , which
creates hierarchies of systems , intended to elevate those who
would blindly follow , than question , and disavow , words which
are intended to indoctrinate , and disallow questioning minds ;

I am not saying this is *your* intent and belief , *at all*...

I believe *you* are a *great soul*....that is my hope...

Yet , I *do not* blindly believe *anything*...

Thus , I accept your statement your opinion , is your view ,
yet I do not agree with your opinion of this poets words ,
nor Johnny , or Ahavati's views...

Respectfully , in this thread , that is my right , and I submit
my request for respect in this matter , as I have so given...

( enough said )


Hey, BW!

No problem at all.  I hereby EXpress my agreement with you:

"ENOUGH SAID."

AND THE SILENCE BECOMES GOLDEN.

JohnnyBlaze
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cabcool said:
This is a literary device known as eye rhyme.  It is very common -- even yours truly use it in my poems, when it is called for.  Here's Shakespeare:

“Devouring time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood.”

Here's William Blake:

“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

Here's Percy Bysshe Shelley:

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Yours truly:

youthful
passions wane
as decades drown,
truthful
as the pain
of time fast-flown.


Discerning poets (I will not force myself into this group, if you think otherwise!) employ this device to inject sophistication in their work; it helps them to avoid sounding pedantic or mundane (the way sing-song rhymes might render them)..


Cabby, thank you for taking the time to school me. Truly. I still have a lot to learn about poetry.


cabcool
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Ahavati said:This was a wonderful post, Cabcool.  You are right about anti-Black supremists keeping their head in the sand, which is indeed a mask. It's the same mask people wear when they see a homeless person and cross the street to avoid them. It's the same way they feel when they see beggars in intersections; they look the other way and pretend not to see them.

The poem reminds me of an old slave song. Very touching the channeled insight he shares.  

Thank you for sharing.



You are welcome, Ahavati, and I am no less grateful to you for your kind words.  I think you understand th mask-ostrich metaphoric continuum perfectly.  What was that slave song?

I think of "This Old Hammer," on the life of John Henry, in which the persona threatens to take his own life and then, in a surprising twist, shows that he is more clever than suicide. Here are verses 1 and 2

This old hammer killed John Henry
This old hammer killed John Henry
This old hammer killed John Henry
But it won't kill me, won't kill me

Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Train comes along -- gonna snatch it back!



cabcool
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JohnnyBlaze said:

Cabby, thank you for taking the time to school me. Truly. I still have a lot to learn about poetry.



You are welcome, JB.  We are in a learning community in which I, too, learn amazing, new insights.

Ahavati
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cabcool said:

You are welcome, Ahavati, and I am no less grateful to you for your kind words.  I think you understand th mask-ostrich metaphoric continuum perfectly.  What was that slave song?

I think of "This Old Hammer," on the life of John Henry, in which the persona threatens to take his own life and then, in a surprising twist, shows that he is more clever than suicide. Here are verses 1 and 2

This old hammer killed John Henry
This old hammer killed John Henry
This old hammer killed John Henry
But it won't kill me, won't kill me

Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Gonna lay my head on the railroad track
Train comes along -- gonna snatch it back!




Cab, I wish I could remember the name. I was raised in part in Deep South Mississippi in the early 60's; we were poor 'cotton pickers' by white standards; thus, often worked alongside the black community picking cotton. I remember picking it before I started school. My cousin used to ride me on his back and hand me the cotton so I could pick the shuck out of it. I was probably 3-4 years old then. The song is one blacks used to sing in the fields. They also sang it in their native tongue.

If I heard it again I would know it, but I've never been able to find it online despite how hard I've searched.  I believe I've heard the one you're referring to ( and old Railway song ) when visiting a black church. I know I've heard it somewhere.  May have been on the mission field, though I doubt it, as I mainly served in Mexico & Central America.

I want to thank you too for sharing your knowledge regarding poetry with us.  If I'm not mistaken, Emily Dickinson was notorious for that as well:

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –  
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil

I think one genuinely connected with poetry can weave words in such a way that they blend naturally, and thus present themselves unforced as in the case of many rhymes.

EdibleWords
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This talk of the south is fascinating. Mom avoided the south - I believe. She had nothing nice to say about it. The north really likes to distance themselves from those politics - to their youth - at least.

Northern Idaho had plenty of black history in my school era there. And ww2 info. We read about “Moses” the woman - and Corrie ten boom’s Number the Stars in 5th grade.

I had no idea until adulthood there even were a few skinheads skulking around town. By then I was in another state just reading about i.

My relatives also would tell me about the rage over racism they felt observing the social atmosphere at laundromats etc, when the random racist would come around, spoiling their day. Much travel, much avoidance of southern states...

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