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Tag: Nina Cassian

Sunday, August 3rd

back to church

“Wade in the Water,” St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Canton, Miss., 1978


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lagniappe

reading table

Serenity
by Nina Cassian (1924-2014)

There’ll be a time, serene, a time for hymns.
I’ll underline the air with just one gesture,
and I will utter stainless words.

I will say “sky” and “brook” and I’ll say “sun”
and “tear” and “music” and “immunity.”
There’ll be a time, a time when memory
of massacres won’t reach me anymore,
turning instead into a distant breeze of poetry
as sometimes blood itself exhales.

From all that once had been promiscuous,
only the sacred will remain, and I will praise
the contrasts, reconciled, forgiven and forgiving.
So I’ll say “sky” and “sun” and “music”
and sky will be, and sun will be, and music
will be around me and around the world.
I’ll let the vowels all regain their halo.

And it will come, that bright, sonorous time,
a time solemn and pure, a time for hymns,
and it will come, that time. Indeed, it will!

Thursday, June 12th

sounds of Chicago

One-word review: mesmerizing.

Art Ensemble of Chicago, live, France (Chateauvallon), 1970


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lagniappe

reading table

Despite all my inner crumblings,
I’m still able to recognize a perfect day:
sea without shadow,
sky without wrinkles,
air hovering over me like a blessing.

—Nina Cassian (1924-2014), “Summer X-Rays” (fragment)

 

Sunday, May 18th

testify!

Lee Williams & the Spirtual QC’s, “I Can’t Give Up,” live, Brownsville, Tenn.


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lagniappe

reading table

Please Give This Seat to an Elderly or Disabled Person
by Nina Cassian (1924-2014; translated from Romanian by Naomi Lazard)

I stood during the entire journey:
nobody offered me a seat
although I was at least a hundred years older than anyone else on board,
although the signs of at least three major afflictions
were visible on me:
Pride, Loneliness, and Art.

 

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