Saturday, April 5, 2014

Behold Yourself

Behold Yourself

Like a great film or play everyone should see,
behold yourself. 

Hints of your beauty the mountains have,
and the enchanting complexions of coral reefs
are pale to a golden candle in your heart. 

What moves in any ocean moves through you. 
A thousand kinds of music play every hour
that you orchestrate. 

              I just came across the poem Postcards by E. Ethelbert Miller. It is below: 


When was the last time you mailed a postcard? 
 My mother kept the ones I sent her. 
My sister mailed them back to me after she died. 
I had forgotten I had written so many small notes to my mother. 
The price of stamps kept changing. 
I was always mentioning on the back of cards I was having a good time. 
I can remember the first time I lied to my mother. 
It was something small, maybe the size of a postcard. 
Her small hand inside my hand. 
I was beginning to feel something I knew I would never write home about. 

          At first, I presumed this writer, who identifies as "E." for a first name, was gay, as why else would you not write home about love? Then I read, E. is actually a straight black male, and the girl he writes about is Chinese. Judy's race or color is not mentioned in the poem, but he knew his mother would not approve of the relationship. In doing so, I wonder if maybe he feels as though he never wrote home about his greatest accomplishment, loving another. I wonder if she felt offended. I wonder if it lasted. If you truly "behold yourself", then the confidence is there to embrace whatever identity is yours. Then again, the author reflects on in his commentary, asking the reader: "In the past, don't all secrets seem small?" 

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