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  • Dr.Pragya Suman

Poem of the Week

I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well, what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing. In other words, I literally communicated through poetry. And when I couldn’t find the poems to express the things I was feeling, that’s what started me writing poetry, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen.”

Audre Lorde

Today is the birthday (18 February) of Audre Lorde, an American poet and daughter of Caribbean immigrants who was self declared “black, lesbian. Mother, warrior and poet. Like many other poets, she lived a queer and brave life. She dedicated her life and writings to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism and homophobia.


It has rained for five days


the world is

a round puddle

of sunless water

where small islands

are only beginning

to cope

a young boy

in my garden

is bailing out water

from his flower patch

when I ask him why

he tells me

young seeds that have not seen sun


and drown easily.

This week's #poemoftheweek is coping by Audre Lorde. This poem is riddle-like, at first glance difficult to decipher, and demands four or five readings, to seek the hidden enigma between lines, to know what was going on in the poet’s mind. Coping has no punctuation, and enjambments are twirling the poem after two or three words, sometimes mere one word. The whole poem is composed of a depiction of an incident, and it has four fragments, though interlinked in solid abstraction in the core. I see visual images here and if you go through the whole poem, you will see consequent images trailing down one by one, culminating in a deep riddle. The visual images are fixed in a word, that is the caption of the poem, Coping.

Ist Fragment ; profuse rain has converted the world into sunless water.

2nd fragment: small islands, everybody is confined in house in this natural calamity.

3rd fragment; A young boy is fighting in this turmoil, and bailing out water from flower patch

4th Fragment: An enigmatic answer, the seeds which didn’t see the sun were drawn easily.

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