Sunday, 6 January 2019

Walking to Lacovia With a Pink Pedicure

Singing and Walking to Lacovia with A Pink Pedicure

These are my thoughts after reading the writing of two poems written by Jamaican poets some 50 years apart, and the writing of one British poet another 150 years before them. Depsite the difference in times and locations, the thoughts of a lone woman at her business becomes the subject of all three.

The poets are Jamaicans Michael Edwards writing Pink Strips and A L Hendricks writing Road to Lacovia and the British poet William Wordsworth writing Solitary Reaper.

Last month, Michael Edwards released the anthology of poems "Wall Street" on Amazon. What I appreciated about reading this anthology of his poems is the immediacy of it as several of the works reflect the period 2016 - 2018 locally and also globally.

One of the poems that I noted was Pink Strips as it is a poem as it provides inspiration and hopefulness for young Jamaican girls. It reminded me of two other poems. The first is "Road to Lacovia" a famous poem that I first heard about a month ago.

The preceding sentence is similar to the structure of that poem where there is a paradox in the single thought: that is, a famous poem that I have never heard about.

Road to Lacovia was written by A. L. Hendriks. It describes a scene of a woman who is living an obviously very hard life but who "dares to walk, and sing", and anyone who lives in Jamaica would be familiar with this phenomenon.

For me, Edwards' poem Pink Strips brings the spirit of this woman who is walking to Lacovia sometime before Independence, perhaps the late 1950s, into the present era. Pink Strips does not focus on the hardships of her life, instead, this woman who is slightly beyond youth has, "toes perfect shades of chic" completing Saturday shopping, "on she goes, pegging a future on painted toes."

Contrast this with William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" in 1807, in deep rural Scotland where a woman is engaged in hard labour, binding and cutting grain, and she is working and singing.

The poem tells us that the writer does not know know the words that she was singing, only that it had an emotional impact on him and he presumes that her mood is melancholy.

Perhaps, it was not. Perhaps, like our woman walking on the road to Lacovia and Edwards' woman shopping with a pink pedicure though her "supply's short", that in life you can give yourself freedom to be happy, joy is inherent in life, we just need to be open to receiving it.

These are words that are great for YA reading as they evoke optimism while providing an opportunity for a deeper reflection.

From The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth
====================
Behold her, single in the field, 
Yon solitary Highland Lass! 
Reaping and singing by herself; 
Stop here, or gently pass! 
Alone she cuts and binds the grain, 
And sings a melancholy strain.



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