Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Flowers: Birds of Paradise

Strelitzia Reginae: Bird of Paradise

What My Child Learns of the Sea
(By Audre Lorde)

What my child learns of the sea
of the summer thunders
of the riddles that hide in the curve of spring
she will learn in my twilights
and childlike
revise every autumn.

What my child learns
as her winters grow into time
has ripened in my own body
to enter her eyes with first light.

This is why
more than blood
or the milk I have given
one day a strange girl will step
to the back of a mirror
cutting my ropes
of sea and thunder and spring.
Of the way she will taste her autumns-
toast-brittle or warmer than sleep-
and the words she will use for winter
I stand already condemned.

Audre Lorde isn't one of my "go to" poets for inspiration or comfort, but she's got an interesting style and a distinct voice. One of the cool things about dedicating a post to a poet each week, usually in celebration of their birth date, is that I've taken the time to reexamine some writers. And that's the case with this Friday's featured poet, Audre Lorde, who is way more interesting than I remember from when last I read her work, nearly fifteen years ago.

Strelitzia Reginae: Birds of Paradise

And what of the Birds of Paradise? I often overlook them, ubiquitous as they are in the Los Angeles area. However, the Norton Simon Museum's sculpture garden had a beautiful enough collection of the Strelitzia that I figured it was about time they were featured.

Anyways, their sharp but beautiful forms are appropriate to celebrate Audre Lorde's birth date, born on February 18, 1934.

Strelitzia Reginae: Birds of Paradise

And here are a couple vids:


"Father Son and Holy Ghost"

And here's Charlie "Bird" Parker playing "Bird of Paradise"


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