To read this article series from the beginning please see the links following the bonus poem at the end. Part 3 with the concluding poem begins now:
When looking at the extended timeline of Elemental’s creation, one important reoccurring factor was the formation of partnerships. The original partnership which made the project possible was between art and poetry. Subsequent partnerships formed between the creative artists and cultural institutions. They continued to develop between cultural institutions and the community, and between the community and the inspired creative work.
It is true that at the time of this writing there are no headlines in mainstream media announcing the overwhelming impact of art and poetry on current events. Dominating the news at this time is the U.S.-led offensive against terrorist organizations such as ISIS, protesters push worldwide for governments to address the dangers of climate change, the very scary Ebola outbreak in African nations, and other dire developments that challenge humanity’s sense of survival.
The painting and poem titled “The History Lesson” published in ELEMENTAL addressed issues much like those currently in the news. The work speaks to the power of art and poetry to simultaneously confront human tragedies while re-imagining human possibilities:
THE HISTORY LESSON
This morning bombs ruined
the back yard. Prophecies and
rumors of prophecies all came true.
A despot bound for hell
took the long way to a very bad day.
A feather-throated songboy screamed
madness from atop his platinum-plated cross.
But the temple of your presence?
It never shook once.
Biblical atrocities stormed chaos
from New York to Bagdad to Freetown.
The sun and moon of your face refused
to hide behind Armageddon.
Wisdom gushed like diamonds from your brow:
“Knowledge planted in truth grows in truth.
Strength born of peace loses nothing to hate.”
How many fears came between us?
Earthquakes, diseases, wars where hell
rained smoldering pus
from skies made of winged death.
Horror tore this world asunder.
While inside the bleeding smoke
and beyond the shredded weeping flesh
we memorized tales of infinite good.
(from ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love)
author of The River of Winged Dreams
and Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry
More on ELEMENTAL and the Text and Meaning Series by Aberjhani
- Text and Meaning in Elemental The Power of Illuminated Love Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Elemental The Power of Illuminated Love Part 2
- Text and Meaning in The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Part 1
- Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony 1
- Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization Test (part 2)
- Text and Meaning in the Life of Nelson Mandela Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Robert Frost’s Dedication: For John F. Kennedy Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Langston Hughes’ The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance Part 1
- Text and Meaning in MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech Part 1
- Text and Meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech Part 4