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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let me start with the African proverbs for the last few days. 

"A wise monkey is a monkey who does not monkey with another's monkey." Sierra Leonean proverb for February 24. From the calendar "African Wisdom for Life" by Annetta Miller.  Very good advice!

"It is best for us to be like a tall tree." Kenyan proverb for February 23.

"Perseverance in work brings rewards." Tanzanian proverb for February 22.

"If sweetness is excessive, it is no longer sweetness." African proverb for February 21. 

I think all of us use words to express ourselves.  For some of us this is very natural and easy.   And for others, like myself, it has always been difficult.  And frustrating because I feel things that I can't always express myself in an articulate way.  I guess that is one reason why I love photography so much as it is a way to express myself visually when I cannot do that easily with words: also why I choose to accompany my photographs with proverbs (and use someone else's words).

A few weeks ago a friend of mine (who will not see this post as she prefers to stay away from such electronic contrivances) told me about Richard Wright's haiku.  My friend writes haiku to accompany her photographs and R.W. was someone she turned to for inspiration.  Here is a site to look at: terebess.hu/english/haiku/wright.html

I was surprised that this champion and spokesman for African Americans turned to this classic form of art in the last 18 months of his life, while ill and self-exiled in France.

His work also inspired me especially as for the last few days I have been struggling with the effects of the tornado on my community and not being able to express my feelings about it.  In the foreword to his book
Haiku: This Other World - by Richard Wright he writes to his daughter “Julia, you can write them too. It’s always five, and seven and five - like math. So you can’t go wrong.”

So with this in mind (and mind you I have never been able to write a word of poetry) I decided to try to write some Haiku to go with some of my tornado photographs.  I am expression the less hurtful side of the experience with the
more artful one.  Maybe a little like R.W. explored nature late in his life rather than the rage found in his earlier writings. 

I will post a few more in the next few days.  Let me know if you like them. 

Frank was our friend's dog who survived the storm in their damaged house.

bed spread, a greyhound
calm under portrait of same
Frank, after the storm

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