Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting
April showers bring May flowers

Thursday, 30 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 30th April 2020, Z is for Zebra.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

We did it. Hooray !

like Droopy

Quote of the Day :  Take care of your body so your soul wishes to stay there.
Indian Proverb.





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 



This last extract from my novel in progress is from the beginning of the novel and follows on from C. Bartolomé hasn't been to his grand-father's funeral yet.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg, Florida, Savannah and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

Z is for Zebra

After a filling lunch of grilled python and bananes plantains with beer, they are off again their hunt, hoping to find a larger catch than the bony porcupine. The sun is now beating down on the treetops, the bush, a steam bath of vegetation. They are soaked in sweat in minutes.
As in the morning, Joseph hacks at the underbrush in front followed closely by Bartolomé with Mango and Pierre, now passably drunk, bringing up the rear. They seem to walk for ages, deeper and deeper into the dark cover. Bartolomé looses track of the sun and time. No rays pierce the thick canopy so they make their way slowly following a hypothetical track left by a furtive antelope. Even the cries of birds are silenced by the gloom.

Suddenly, a shriek rises from a thick branch to their left and a hairy shape leaps over them to catch a liane, then the monkey swings high above to a far trunck. No time to aim the rifle, Joseph turns his head back left. He has heard a rustle in the brush; Bartolomé has also heard something, a beating of hooves on the ground.

" An elephant," says Joseph, "better get out of its way."
They jump back a few feet and wait, at the ready to run in the opposite direction to a stampede. The rustling and thumps increase and in a flash of white, a zebra breaks onto the path. Startled by the sudden clearing in vegetation and probably sensing their door, it halts and turns its head towards them. Joseph reacts instantaneously, rifle up and fired in a heartbeat.
The zebra squeals and crashes to the sodden leaves. Its eyes dart red, legs twitching for a moment, then the body falls limp. Joseph, Bartolomé, Mango and Pierre step forward and bend over their prey.

" Waouh !" exclaims Mango.
" What a catch," says Pierre.
" Rare to see a zebra in this part of the forest, I wonder what it was running from ? "muses Joseph.
" Look out !" cries Bartolomé.
An elephant stamps through the branches just ahead, trumpets at them in fury, shakes its ears and throws its tusks up and down menacingly.
" Easy," warns Joseph. They slowly crouch down beside the zebra, not taking their eyes off the elephant. They all stay frozen for a moment staring like china dogs. Then another rustle rises from the bush and a baby elephant alongside its mother, slowly crosses the path behind the male. One last snort and a shake of its head and they disappear into the blackness.

" Phew, that was close."
" He could have crushed us," says Joseph.
They fall to the ground and strap at the patches of sky glowing through the leaves, spent.
©susanbauryrouchard




That's All Folks. Hope to see you soon on the Reflections Post and the Insecure Writers Support group question on Wednesday. Take Care and congratulations on completing the A to Z 2020 Challenge.




⌗AtoZ Challenge, 29th April 2020, Y is for a Yarn on Yodeling in the BaYou.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Nearly there, Hang On, light at the end of the tunnel.

Quote of the Day :  Choose to work in what you like to do and you'll never have to work a day
                                  in your life.

Confucius (555-479 BC)





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 




This next to last extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is in Bayou country, Louisiana.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg, Tuscaloosa, Florida, Savannah and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

Y is for Yarn on Yodeling in the Bayou

We are sitting around the campfire, deep in the bayou, I don't even know where exactly, all I know is we left Crown point in the canoes at dawn. Every arm of water and dripping branches looked the same to me and we had been paddling all day.
When we spent the evening at the Cajun Cabin over on Bourbon Street with Duke and his Cajun friend Thomas, he had suggested a camping trip through the swamp South West of New Orleans. I didn't really feel up to it at first, the damp heat and all those creepy-crawlies, but Duke kept on at me, so after the visit to the St Louis Cemeteries, I gave in.
So here I am , exhausted, bitten to the bone, despite my long sleeves, drenched and smelly, trying to maintain my cheer by the fire, a frozen smile on my lips, eyes drooping, with only one desire, to crawl into my knapsack.

After a hearty meal of jambalaya that Duke brought in a large pot, boiled crawfish and bread pudding, Thomas drains another tumbler of whisky and starts his yarn,

" In the Bayou there is a tradition, we holler. Swamp hollering is a big part of Cajun culture. It's half-way between a call and a song. For an outsider it can sound like music we make just for fun. But it has a purpose : it's to communicate from shore to boat, from boat to boat to make sure where everyone is at and if they're OK."
" What does it sound like ? " I ask.

Thomas leans back his head, opens his jaw wide, rounds his lips and there comes out an incredible throaty sound, a wonderful music, a loud yodeling.

" It reminds me of the Swiss yodeling I heard when I went to Europe's Alps. You know the ones with the enormous curved horns," I say.
" No, I don't know sister. Our hollering comes from the Bayou," Thomas replies, peeved.

" Anyway to continue with my story. Once we were in the swamp, fishing for chevrettes and hunting cocodrile. There was Gator Jim there, Tom Lee and in another canoe, Slim Sam. We came back with a pound of crawfish and some soft-shell crab but no gator. When we were back at base camp, Slim Sam joked about our long holler conversation. 'What conversation ?' I asked. And he described at length the exchange. Ou rendu ? Caught anything yet ? Et toi ? that kind'a thing. You see we have different sounds and pitches, not words exactly that would drown in the damp air, to make ourselves understood. Anyways, Jim said, 'It wasn't us, we didn't holler all day.' So Sam insisted, 'But you called out Sam and something about my straw hat and red kerchief that you could see through the swamp grass.' 'Nope,' said Tom,'not us'. The next morning  we met another group coming out of the bayou and Sam asked them if they were the ones who had yodelled at him. 'No , we didn't do any hollering and we didn't hear anything either; we saw your chums here across a pond at one point but otherwise the swamp was deserted yesterday.' Slim Sam was looking spooked by then and I remembered the legend of Red Hat Sally. The tale goes that Sally was walking through the bayou one day and she got stuck in quick sand. No one ever found a body but ever since she is heard swamp hollering every time someone wearing red happens to be in the swamp around March, the time of year she disappeared."

" Cut it out, Thomas," says Duke, " Now you're scaring the shit out of Mathilda."
" It's a fact though, true story."
" That's what you say every time you spin your yarn, tall-tale, dude."

I look from one to the other not knowing who to believe or what to think. I am suddenly wide awake.

" Let's practice some yodeling then," I say, " I'm not sleepy anymore."

And we improvise a fair-do around the campfire. Thomas gets out his violin and we dance, holler late into the night.
©susanbauryrouchard



Doug Kershaw, Louisiana man, here
                          Bully of the Bayou, here



Bayou Country, Lonely Planet DEEP SOUTH, 1998.

Postcards from Louisiana bought April 2008

Thank you for visiting my blog Life in Poetry during this A to Z. See you on the Reflections Post. Congratulations to all you Survivors 2020.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 28th April 2020, X is for Xeno's ( or Zeno) Paradoxes.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Nearly there, Hang On, light at the end of the tunnel.

Quote of the Day :  It's more Important to Travel full of Hope than to reach your Goal.
Japanese Proverb





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 




This Twenty-second extract from my novel in progress will appear just after the first chapter, letter B in this A to Z. Bartolomé is working and reflecting on Mathematics.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg, Florida, Savannah and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

X is for X(Z)eno's Paradoxes.

The rain has stopped and Bartolomé is sitting at his desks sorting out his lesson plans for the coming semester : algebra, geometry, algorithms, applied mathematics; and within each category, theorems, axioms, equations, exercises, problems, exam papers. He loves his subject. maths are so soothing : everything fits nicely into boxes which themselves are part of larger boxes and so on like a collection of Russian Dolls. Everything is predictable : no mysteries or anguishing surprises like in Physics. There is no place for the subjectivity of real life.
His students often complain about the strictness of mathematical structures. Like a castle of cards, you make one small mistake and the whole edifice comes crashing down. A slight error is magnified by the boxes-in-boxes effect and bring havoc into this perfect science. Bartolomé feels shielded and comforted by the knowledge that nothing can disrupt his logical world.
As a child he was drawn to puzzles and often spent hours on the floor piecing paintings of architectural structures together. he was very shy and other boys' rough games frightened him.

The sun finally streams through the window lighting up the floating dust. Then he thinks about Xeno's Paradoxes : motion as illusion, the Dichotomy Paradox, Achilles and the Tortoise. Bartolomé muses on the reductio absurdum, proof by contradiction. Reno's Paradoxes may have mathematical solutions found through modern calculus, however philosophers argue that they are metaphysical problems to be solved through the senses. Bartolomé then wonders if it isn't time to think outside the box and consider changing up some things in his life. After all, there may be other exciting experiences to concentrate his time on outside of the comfort zone of mathematics.
©susanbauryrouchard



Lily Allen, Everyone's at it, 2009, here
Franz Ferdinand, Take me Out, here
Jimmy Sommerville, Small-town Boy, here

Photos from Home, April 2020





Thank you for visiting. See you tomorrow for the last extracts. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 27th April 2020, W is for WAZA.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Nearly there, Hang On, light at the end of the tunnel.

Quote of the Day :  
Politeness is a commodity that doesn't make the receiver richer but the spender.
Persian Proverb





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 



This extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Bartolomé is back up North and settling in.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg, Florida, Savannah and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good. He is now a school teacher in Kidissi.

W is for WAZA National Park

The tires of the mini-van crunch on the rocks of the track and the vehicle jostles as it hits the many holes in the dirt. Patches of mud are starting to gather with the rainy season so at times the wheels wiz to break unstuck from the puddles. The children are chatting away excitedly at taking a trip out of the village. Bartolomé is speaking with the driver cum guide and looking over the savanna trying to distinguish in the misty light the vegetation and wildlife that Felix is pointing out to him.
A hawk swoops down from an acacia tree and plunges into the tall grass, reserving with a small rodent, probably a weasel of some sort. A few antelope graze further afield and a herd of zebu twitch their horns to fend off flies.

" With a bit of luck, we'll catch sight of a  lionness. It's only 6.30 and the heat won't rise until 10 or so at this time of the year; they won't be seeking shade just yet," says Felix.
" How many prides are there in the park ? " Bartolomé asks.
" The Waza keepers have numbered them at 10 prides with up to eight lions each including the cubs. But of course, they roam in and out of the park, even crossing over to Chad and Nigeria occasionally so it's easy to lose track of them."
" I read that in other parks in Africa, they have started to mark them with a clip on the ear."
" Yes, well here we don't have any sophisticated means to do that yet. But I suppose that at some point, we'll have to use some sort of device, as the numbers are dwindling. Even though hunting is regulated in the park, we can't avoid the poaching that goes on outside. Inch'Allah it's not as bad as in Kenya and especially South Africa where anything goes."

" Look, elephants," cries out a voice from the backseat.
All eyes turn, first towards Aya, then out of the windows where she is pointing to. There below the branches are three majestic animals with a baby elephant, munching their way up the branches of a dripping thorned tree. One male has a set of beautiful curved tusks. They stand at about fifty yards away.

" Well spotted Aya, " says Felix, with a thumb up.

The party stares at the animals until the mini-van edges out of sight and the chattering resumes.
©susanbauryrouchard


Jacques Higelin, Champagne, 1975,
                           L' Amour sans Savoir ce que C'est,  Jazz à Juan 1989, here
                           Paris-New York, New York-Paris, Live Mogador 1981, here

Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick, Live at Madison Square Garden 1978, here



Park National de WAZA, Nord Cameroun. My Photos, January 1989.





Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, like, dislike and I will be sure to reply.
Beautiful clear skies today, temperatures rising. 
28 degrees Celsius forecast for next week, May at last.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 25th April 2020, V is for New Venture.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Nearly there, Hang On, light at the end of the tunnel.

Quote of the Day :  
If you are Rich, give riches. If you are poor, give your heart out.
African proverb






if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 



My Twentieth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Bartolomé is back up North and settling in.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg, Florida, Savannah and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good. He is settled in Kidissi where he now teaches Primary School classes. Today's class regroups boys and girls from 9 to 12 years old.

V is for New Venture

Bartolomé is walking up to the case à palabres with skipping and laughing children at his heels. he has come up from the dirt track at the bottom of the hill which skirts the village along the dry riverbed. As he climbs the slope, the children emerge from their huts and fall into line.

Once settled cross-legged on the natte, the children fall silent, expectant. Behind Bartolomé is a small wooden desk on which are laid out exercise books, pencils, chalk sticks and a few books. On a makeshift easel is propped a blackboard.

" Aujourd'hui, nous sommes le 15 September 1992, la St Roland dans le calendrier chrétien. Et nous allons lire des extraits de La Chanson de Roland, une histoire épique écrite au Moyen Âge. Chest la première oeuvre majeure de la culture française. Après un petit encas, on continuera  avec du calcul mental."

The boys' and girls' eyes pop wide open as they listen, eager to be back in school after so long. Bartolomé hands out the exercise books and pencils, a small board to clip their pages on. Each student writes the day and date down on a clean leaf, carefully copying from the blackboard. A new chapter in both Bartolomé's and these children's lives.

" Hauts sont les montagnes et très hauts les arbres.
Il y a là quatre blocs de marbres brillants," reads Salim.

" Very good Salim. Roland is dying among the mountains and an Arab lies nearby, not yet spent from the battle, and observes our hero closely. The story is supposed to take place around 778 when the Emperor Charlemagne travels to Spain to help a Muslim chief who has led a revolt against the Emir of Cordoba," Bartolomé shows the children an old historical map of Europe with the areas occupied by the Muslim conquerors.

" This is when the Christians were crusading against the Sarrazins, as they called the Muslims, to take back Jerusalem, then in the hands of The Prophet Mohammed's descendants, and all the territories on the European continent that the Muslims had colonised."

" Like the French and English colonised Cameroon ?"
" Exactly Salim, and the Germans before them. That's where our country gets its name Kamerun. Before that we lived in masses of independent kingdoms, that's why there are so many different languages and cultures in Cameroon, " he pauses before continuing in a wider vein, " The history of Humanity was made from battles over land. Your ancestors, the original Africans and Humans left the Rift Valley to seek new hunting grounds and over thousands of years, they made their way all over the Earth. "
" So why isn't the World populated with Africans ?" asks Aya, a slender girl with bright eyes and high cheekbones.
" You mean why don't they look like us ? Why aren't they all black ?" Aya nods repeatedly. " Well, no one really knows. Climate and the food people ate may have changed their features and their skin, we suppose. The closer the populations stayed to the Equator, the darker their skin became probably, as a natural protection against the sun. But that's just a theory. We don't know what humans looked like then, no photographs or drawings. "
©susanbauryrouchard


Mory Kanté, Guinée Conakry, Yeke-yeke here
                                                  Teri Ya, 1986, here



Epic poem, first manuscript dating back to 12th Century, Bodleien Library Oxford, 
written in Anglo-Normand. Then another version in latin. 
Then multiple translations in Modern French.


fabric market and Mosque, Garoua.
Postcards brought back in 1989.

Traditional Dances on Nigerian Border
Lamido in N'gaoundéré, Chef's House.

Thank you for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying the A to Z Challenge, I'm late but will finish by Thursday and visit you soon. Take care.

Monday, 27 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 24th April 2020, U is for Underground Railroad.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  
Like a shooting star, a mirage, a flame, magical illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble on water; like the dream, the lightening bolt or the cloud : Consider the wonder in every thing.
Buddha Siddhârta Gautama (536-480 BC)





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 


My Nineteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is in Savannah.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to Savannah, Jekyll Island, Florida, New Orleans, Hattiesburg and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

U is for Underground Railroad

" We are standing in the chapel of the museum where the Savannah branch of the NAACP used to hold its meetings during the 20's thru 60's. This building originally housed the Wage Earners Saving & Loan Bank founded in 1914. Ralph Mark Gilbert reorganised the NAACP in 1942 becoming its president for the next 8 years. You mustn't forget that the Civil Rights movement didn't only stem  from the Jim Crow laws but has its roots in slavery and the first organised attempts to break free from the plantations and masters. "
" The Underground Railroad," I say.
" Exactly," says Heru, " in this room, you can learn all about this period going back to the late 18th century, when we have the first documented evidence of free African-Americans in Savannah. "
" Thanks Heru, I think I'll just look around and take some notes."
" I'll leave you to it then. have to catch up on some paperwork. If you have any questions, I'll gladly point you to further research outlets in town."
" Fine. That would be great, thanks again."

Once alone, I gaze round the room filled with glass cases showing open books, photographs and manuscript documents. I step forward and peer at a deed of property with a list, transferring ownership of two males, three females and a child to Esquire John Hopkins, Grove Cotton Plantation, Savannah Georgia  for 10 guineas, June 12th 1756. Next to it, another document : a slave paid his Master 25 US dollars for his freedom, Archie Morris is his given name. The date,  October 20th 1849. And I think of all the suffering, work and brotherhood gone into those hundred years to get from one document to the other. My eyes cloud at the images which come to my mind.

On the wall above are sketches of wooden cabins with families sitting on the steps in front, large grins on their faces, clothed in plain tunics for the women and children and sac trousers for the men, all barefoot. The caption reads Ogeechee River 1837. On another wall,  is an enlarged framed photograph of the First African Baptist Church, originally built in 1793 by slaves, then rebuilt on the same spot in 1859. Portrayed in front are members of its congregation, (renamed Third African then First Bryan Baptist Church) in 1888 led by the then pastor, Ulysses L. Houston.

The open books below are 19th century print of Frederick Douglass' narrative of the Life of F.D. 1845; T. Washington's Up from Slaves, an Autobiography, 1901; Ana Murray's The Heroic Slave, 1853. In front of the books is the typed speech of Frederick Douglass given on the Fourth of July 1852 at the Rochester Oration gathering. I read,

" What to the American Slave is your Fourth of July ? I answer, a day that reveals to him the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. "
 It goes on for three long pages and butterflies invade my stomach. The Underground Railroad may have enabled Frederick Bailey to escape slavery and speak as a free man in 1852 but has his voice really been heard by the successive governments of my Country in the intervening 150 years, I wonder.
©susanbauryrouchard


Leonard Cohen, Happens to the Heart, here
                           The Future, here
                           You Want it Darker, here



from the book,  Savannah , Georgia, by Charles J. Elmore, Ph D. Arcadia Publishing, 2002
America is woven from many strands, our fate is to become one, and yet many, Ralph Ellison, 1952. 


Thank you for reading. More to come tomorrow, back with Bartolomé in Cameroon.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 23rd April 2020, T is for Tuscaloosa.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  
One can learn more about a person by playing with them for an hour than a year long conversation.
PLATO (428-348 BC)





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 



My Nineteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is travelling up the Mississippi. 

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to Savannah, Jekyll Island, Florida, New Orleans, Hattiesburg, Tuscaloosa and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

T is for Tuscaloosa

The bright-coloured geometrical forms of the stained-glass windows are aglow with the summer light. The children from Sunday School file into the church from a side door as we walk up the aisle to our seats. Vanessa indicates a pile of cushions on the bench and I take one. The South bell Baptist Church is built of brick in a Neo-Gothic style, the steeple white-painted stone. The ceiling is criss-crossed with waxed-to-shine beams and Elizabethan style, fake-candle chandeliers encased in wrought iron and glass hang between them.

The introductory Gospel are sung by a quintet : a lead singer and two men. two women. They start with Holy is the Lord and Forget about Myself. Then he band joins in for Walk closer with Thee and Hush, Someone's calling my Name. The drums, organ, guitar, trumpet and clarinet play in harmony without drowning the spirituals' choruses voices. I feel welcome, even though I am sure I am seen as just another Yankee tourist, whatever my Georgia origins.
Follows the sermon. " Pray The Lord or fall prey to the Devil himself," starts Reverend A.Morris. Then he continues in the same vain with wordplays, opposing armour to sin and not indulging in one's girdle, as a joke on containing one's flab, which draws laughs and thigh slapping from the assembly, even the plump old ladies.
" Pray to The Lord and forget about the new car, new clothes and the better house to keep up with the Jones' . " I chuckle inwardly but only let a smile betray my mirth.
The songs prove the point. 'Money, money, money' by ABBA pours out from the speakers. Everyone sings along. They are on their best behaviour in full Summer Parade get-up shoes, hats and dress. I made an effort with a colourful skirt and long sleeve blouse but I know I stand out as the gal from the North.

After the announcements (next parish meetings, NAACP gatherings, Summer picnic), the congratulations (births, baptisms, weddings, anniversaries) and bereavements, the collection basket is passed round and filled generously by every member of the congregation.
the Gospel chants rise and once more echo in the holy space. My heart lifts with those about me and for the first time in a long while I feel a sense of community which I realise I decidedly lack in New York City. My universe is fragmented between family, university pals and close friends who are now scattered all over the States through work, extra studies or the accidents of life. I think back to Savannah and can picture more fully what kind of solace my great grandparents must have found in the Baptist Church brethren of Georgia and the part it must have played in their day to day struggles. A surge of gratitude balloons up inside me and I reach out a silent prayer  to my ancestors who fought to survive and make me who I am.
©susanbauryrouchard


Holy is The Lord, here
Walk Closer with Thee, here
Hush, Someone's Calling my Name, here
Money money, money, here


my photos Mississippi, April 2008





Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and I will be sure to reply. See you tomorrow.

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 22nd April 2020, S is for Savannah.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.






if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 




My Seventeenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is travelling down the Eastern Coast.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Florida, Hattiesburg and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

S is for Savannah

My feet take me along Factors Walk and the Riverfront, past City Hall and the Old Cotton Exchange, imposing brick buildings, the only ones in the town centre. Then I stroll back through Washington Square and Colonial Square, avenues bordered by overhanging eucalypti laden with Swamp grass, just like in the movies. I pass the Savannah Theatre and Colonial park Cemetery. Outside Billy's Place where T ate okra gumbo and corn muffins last night, a queue is already forming to be the first in line for opening time, and it's only 1030 am.

Finally I make my way back up towards Savannah River to meet Gladys at Leopold's Ice Cream Parlor.
Once we are settled in one of the red skye booths, Gladys turns to me.

" Leopold's just reopened last year on East Broughton. The original store of 1919 was on Habesham and Gwinett, two streets over. Stratton left Savannah in the 80's to become a movie producer in Hollywood but with his wife Mary, they decided to come back to the family business," she explains. " The Shrimp bisque is delicious I hear and the sandwiches, all freshly homemade, are scrumptious."
" Thanks Gladys. I think I'll have the Tuna Salad sandwich with chips and extra tomato."

After we have ordered, Gladys asks me,

" So what are you planning on doing in the next few days ? "
" Well, I'd like to walk about some more to check everything out first. Maybe I'll take a trip on the river to Tybee to see the ocean. But I won't leave Savannah before visiting the Gilbert Museum."
" Yeah, it's a Civil Rights must. It's over on Martin Luther King Boulevard, well worth the five bucks. Here, I'll give you the name of a friend I know who works there," she hands me a paper napkin from the parlor. " Heru will take good care of and help you with your research to boot, he dabbles in music himself and plays in several joints in and about town."
" That's great Gladys, thanks a lot . I was thinking of maybe taking a tour round the slave burial grounds too. Are any of our common ancestors buried there ? "
" There may be Mathilda. But most of the graves are unmarked, just a stone slab in the ground or sometimes a headstone with 'man, woman or child' written and the master's name."
" Weren't most of them baptised from the 1750's onwards ? "
" Well the kids received Bible teachings, usually from the master's wife but they wouldn't go to church for years. The First African Baptist Church was founded by free men. There are probably loads of Felders in their cemetery, it's a very common name. Your great-great grandfather rests in Thunderbolt's cemetery as you know, his family moved out there in the 1920's."
" Yes, I'll take a bus out there later this week to pay my respects. GrandPa asked me to take pictures as he hasn't come back to Savannah in 40 years."
" Again, you can always take the Freedom Trail Tour with Johnnie Brown. He's supposed to be really good and his family have been in Savannah for ages."
" Well, I might just do that, thanks for the heads-up."

I dig into my Chocolate Raspberry Swirl and gaze around the room at the frames of all the Hollywood celebrities that fill the walls and think how different my distant relatives' lives must have been. I shudder, I don't know if it's the ice-cream or the evocation of my roots.
©susanbauryrouchard


Jim Croce, Photographs and Memories, listen here
                  I've got a name, here
                 No business singing the blues, here

My photos of Savannah, April 2008.




Thanks for visiting. Thunderstorm last night. Clouds and rain are back for the week. See you soon.

Friday, 24 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 21st April 2020, Reverie in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
This blog is FREE, it is not ad-supported, so block them. The cookies unfortunately are powered directly by Blogger and Wordpress, so can't do anything about them.


Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  The path to wisdom and freedom is one that leads you to the heart of your own soul.
Mircea Eliade (Romanian historian and novelist, 1907-1986)





if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here


for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 





My Sixteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is still in Cherokee. Today she is hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Brief synopsis of plot and characters :


Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Florida, Hattiesburg and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

Reverie in The Blue Ridge Mountains.

I leave the cabin at 6.30 am, backpack slung on my shoulder filled with lunch, fruit, water canteen; maps in the transparent top pocket; dry socks and t-shirt, sneakers and rain cape. Down the slope I wave to Bud Lambert who rents me the log cabin, pottering in his vegetable garden.
I make my way across town and onto Goose Creek road, past Uncle Ike's Old Mill, the Holiday Inn and Jenkin's grocery store. Then I climb Fisher's ridge, past the casino and arrive at the Oconoluftee River. There from the log bridge and the banks, a host of Cherokee are already in full swing : Saturday's trout fiching contest. Some look up at me as I cross over, a hint of surprise on their features at seeing an African-American in their midst. No one engages in conversation and I don't wonder as this is their reservation, they are concentrated on their intent and don't have time for tourists today.
So as not to distract them further, I quicken my pace towards the rising sun and the ridge, rocked by the gentle gurgle of the river.
Suddenly after a bend in the path, I hear a rush of falling water. that becomes a roar as I approach Mango Hill. The track twists and turns among towering firs and damp hemlock, then opens up to reveal the Mango Waterfall.

I unhinge my pack from my sweaty back and find a cosy spot of pine needle-covered moss to contemplate the spectacle. What a peaceful and cool haven, I think, after the heat and bustle of the Deep South. For the first time in weeks, I feel on holiday from my research. Although I try to write up my notes every day, I am not planning visits or interviews this week. So I can take a step back and enjoy the moment.
I fish an apple out of my bag and as I sink my teeth into its patchy skin, my mind wanders over the nature in front of me, then reaches back to the past month of travelling.
I keep thinking about Annabella and New Orleans. I've had her on the phone a few times since Hattiesburg, so I'm not so much worried anymore as deeply sad for all the recent misfortunes that New Orleans and its people have had to bear. I also remember the reactions of solidarity shown by the Baptist Church of True Light community in Tuscaloosa and their wave of relief funds sent to New Orleans parishes by the Mississippi folk even though they have had to deal with some pretty devastating floods this year too.
My mind jumps to the Gospel service I attended there : the chants and music invade my ears and mingle with the drums from the Cherokee heritage Museum.

And then it hits me. My thesis seems to thicken with every new discovery and my subject matter stretches down like a bottomless pit the more I learn and experience along the way. The expanse of variety to Jazz and its origins is endless. I wonder if I shouldn't make a drastic change of plan and shift my focus, choosing just one major influence that led to one aspect of the creation of Jazz. I have to take into account three factors : the melodies, the instruments and the songs, in order to pinpoint what sparks the birth of a new genre.
My brain starts to fizzle with connecting synapses, so I look at the Mango fall again. No, today I'm going to enjoy my hike, live in this peaceful instant and forget about work.
Maybe I'll meet a bear in the woods and ask him what he thinks. My inner chuckle transports me back to the trail and my steps.
©susanbauryrouchard


Hugh Coltman, Nature Boy, Live La Défense Paris, 2016  here
                          Magpie, 2009, here

Coldplay, Hymn for the Weekend, 2015, here
                Don't Panic, 2011, here
                 Sparks, 2011, here


My photos Smoky Mountains National Park, April 2008


Laura Falls

Heritage site

Why they're called "Blue"

Wild Deer


Thank you for visiting. More tomorrow. Please feel free to comment and I will be sure to reply.
Sun is back after a week of April showers and cool spells. Roses blooming. Fruit on the cherry tree budding among the newly born leaves.