Jan 3 Gwendolyn Brooks: A Black Wedding Song

It’s a new year and with the new year comes a new blog post. I’ve become quite negligent of this post much to my dismay. With life comes challenges and sometimes the things we love the most must take a back seat to the more boring and mundane parts of life. The dishes still must be done, the clock must be punched, bills need to be paid, the bus waits for no man (not longer than thirty seconds I’m finding).

I’ve been wracking my brain to find a new way to rejuvenate this site, give it a different focus, give it a new life to both my and my audience’s imagination. That’s part of what art is, an inspiration to the imagination, perhaps even a bit of a vacation for the soul. That one spark of interest in the dull monotony of life. And even working artists can find their work a bit dull at times.

I like this poem as the beginning, or new beginning for a couple of reasons. The poet Brooks is celebrating the start of a new life. Certainly the couple getting together have been around for a long time, but a marriage is a different creature. Two lives coming together, starting something new: the start of a family which in essence is a new life. Your old separate life is over, now you have a new focus and you will be bringing new lives into the world, creating new memories, new moments of inspiration and TONS of new work and drudgery to muck through, but now muck through together. Is it a burden? Sometimes, but this is why the poet says, “stay strong.”

“Strong hand in strong hand, stride to/ the Assault that is promised you…”

But it is a joyful burden, one that gives meaning and purpose to one’s life.

New lives definitely require celebration. The moment we stop celebrating and feeling joy, that moment we’re no longer alive. And if we hide from our burdens, we hide from our lives and our purpose, we’re not really alive and living in the moment. Hiding from the “war [that] comes in from the World” is to lie back in a pine box and allow the dirt to fill in over you and that is the most tragic (and unacceptable) thing in the whole world.

So face the world and the pain, face the work and the drudgery and dullness, “Keep it strong./Keep it logic and magic and lightning and muscle…. Here’s to your Wedding Day./Here’s to your launch./Come to your Wedding Song.” Dance and laugh and work hard.

The other reason I chose this poem is it is written by an African American and in the US (if you’re reading from another country) January celebrates Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. I believe that the civil rights struggle is important to remember for everyone regardless of color or creed; it’s important to remember that no person is unimportant or deserving of injustice, especially the kind that a society would institutionalize.

At this time, the US is remembering that struggle through the current day struggles and how there is still a very long road to travel before we can know Doctor King’s dream of the mountain top. I think that it is not only important to remember the “war that comes in from the World”, the political struggle of people of color (of people in any place in the world who are oppressed), but also that they are unique and beautiful, that they have a soul and a heart and a mind and that all are complex. Recognizing the beauty and the wisdom of the African American contribution to art an literature, highlights the humanity and complexity of the African American soul.

Brooks is giving her wisdom and her beauty to the world through her poetry and like a mother or grandmother to her children. She is working to give her wisdom and thus her strength to a nation of African Americans (and to many generations to come). She reminds us the struggle won’t be easy, forgiveness will be needed and strength – lots and LOTS of strength will be required.

A Black Wedding Song

by Gwendolyn Brooks

This love is a rich cry over
the deviltries and the death.
A weapon-song. Keep it strong.

Keep it strong.
Keep it logic and magic and lightning and muscle.

Strong hand in strong hand, stride to
the Assault that is promised you (knowing
no armor assaults a pudding or a mush.)

Here is your Wedding Day.
Here is your launch.

Come to your Wedding Song.

For you
I wish the kindness that romps or sorrows along.
Or kneels.

I wish you the daily forgiveness of each other.
For war comes in from the World
and puzzles a darling duet –
tangles tongues,
tears hearts, mashes minds;
there will be the need to forgive.

I wish you jewels of Black love.
Come to your Wedding Song.


About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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