Project 12

Discovering Discipleship in the 21st Century

Jon’s Favorite African-American Writers, part 2

Posted by Jon on February 6, 2007

I promised I’d try to do better by African American women in the literature department. And in the process, I seem to have rediscovered an incredibly powerful voice that for me may end up a star in my personal galaxy. I’d seen the movie of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and also read various bits of her writings over the years. But pondering her this year brought a deeper realization of just what powers of description — both of nature and of the inner human terrain — she uniquely possessed.

* A short but good biography of Zora Neale Hurston.
* More on her probably most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
* And the 2005 movie (by the same name:

And… here’s my pathetic little homage to her. In it I attempted to borrow some of her own images and reflect them very imperfectly back.
–+–


The Bee in Every Blossom (for Zora Hurston)

“I did not just fall in love, I made a parachute jump.”
– Zora Neale Hurston

Your words are rich as honey
And sting like making love
Your suffered lack of money
That’s not what you were made of…

You worked in sorrow’s kitchen
Licking out the pots and pans
You went under then you came up
Lazarus kind of woman

You’re the bee in every blossom
The spring that comes each day
You stung yourself for sweetness
It was a way to let you pray
Zora… Zora…

The spices hang about you, girl
Like dark skin, exotic clothes
A heart / mind kind of fusion
Both as sharp and true as swords.

Your eyes were watching gods
The strange gods of men’s design
Your cosmic lonely shadow
Proved their idols dumb and blind

You’re the bee in every blossom
The spring that comes each day
You stung yourself for sweetness
It was a way you let us pray
Zora… Zora…

You died in a welfare home
And were buried nameless underground
But I saw you this December
Chicago’s winter swirled ’round

Zora of the ageless Spring
Receive this as my offering
I know a man who suffers all
Like you he still loves everything…

Everything.
Sweet bee, sweet honey, sweet bee…
Love’s sting.

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