Who is on the plum tree?
I like to introduce new voices to the plum tree. In this week’s Wednesday Corner, I share the wonderful voice of gypsy lady and poet, Jenean Gilstrap. Jenean writes with passion and flair, colour and vibrancy. You can almost hear the sound of castanets in her rhythms as she Tangos with words. Many thanks Jenean for joining us here on the plum tree.
By Jenean C. Gilstrap
Since earliest childhood, I have had a passion for – a love of – a lust for – words. All words – in any context – a single word…a phrase…a paragraph…a page…a book. For me, words are works of art – to be seen and heard and felt for their beauty – for their truth. Words are alive – they have heart and they touch the heart in us. Words are spiritual entities – they lift us up – they transport us to that other realm – the realm beyond the here and now. Words, like a beautiful flower or a delicious fruit, are to be tasted, to be savored to their core, each one offering a different color, a different flavor, a different texture. If one hears and sees and feels in their heart and soul the beauty and truth of words – if one is transported to other realms in the word – if one languishes in their taste upon the tongue – then, that passion for words – for poetry – demands that one has more…and more. It is inescapable – that passion. It is a driving force to read more, to write more…words…poetry.
Joss Whedon speaks intimately of passion: Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have?
Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that…passion makes all things alive and significant…and T.S. Eliot wrote that…we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.
As for a favorite poet or a favorite poem, it is impossible to limit it to but one. However, the work of the magnificent Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda [July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973], who became known as a poet while still a teen-ager, is exemplary of a visceral romantic passion wrapped in words/poetry.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Another great poet, Edgar Allan Poe, spoke of poetry. For him, poetry…was not…a purpose, but a passion. So it is with me. I have a passion for words. The word is poetry. Poetry is a passion.