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L'Overture
L'Overture Lest we forget Words often mouthed For the dead of bloody war Forgot not those great ones Whose battles were on the home front Seeking only equality of voice Ray Charles to you was a singer Backwards and long ago he was a preacher A brilliant man of forward thought Who gifted the world with three wise women The teacher The poet The Lawyer Flo taught many with words Long ago and yet here today Those who teach both young and old Hold the noblest of positions Steering the generations To a higher cause With kindness, with heart With head held up to the skies Standing ground for those before Abhorring those acting immature 1872 saw the first black lawyer A sharp mind of determined heart Argued to the Supremes Beauty and brains Leading the way towards freedom For women of all races For in 1872 she had the social graces The revolution of sonnets Black woman and prose The poem and the black rose In 1893 to be printed by a Little Sure meant a lot Henrietta fought the enemy With languages and words Her Wordsworth more than Haitian blood The past, the present Merging onto our futures dreams Hope cares not the color, none at all Hope comes from the rainbows Where voices and angels whisper When we part this early soil Make us all into one If I had a coloring book In it I would put these three Who colored the freedom of women With education, articulation and harmony The pen indeed defeated the sword L'Overture gagne * L'Overture gagne = The opening , won In Actual fact the correct spelling of the French word, would be “L'Ouverture” So I was using a play on words with the Revolutionaries last name. Notes: Not much of a poem, however this was inspired by an old photo I saw of Charlotte E. Ray. The first African American Lawyer in United States, and the first female lawyer in the district of Colombia. When I did some digging, I found she had also 2 sisters, one a poet, one a teacher. Their father was a preacher who firmly believed in education. Her sister was one Henrietta Cordelia Ray, an American poet. Her poetry of Sonnets was a short book of 12 sonnets on Milton, Shakespeare, Raphael, and Beethoven, among other subjects. Her sonnet on the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Overture is notable for its belated engagement in black politics (absent from her earlier verse) and for its allusions to William Wordsworth's famous sonnet, "To Touissaint L'Overture” Well now, the title makes more sense, n’est pas? However the last name also means in English “The Opening” and I thought how fitting that in the late 1800’s black women were beginning to open doors to the future. Also now the line “Her Wordsworth more than Haitian blood” should be self explanatory and no wordsworth was not a typo! (even I am famous for them) Now another of my passions, is French poetry, history and culture, and yes Touissaint L'Overture stood up to Napoleon and although historically he lost, and was deported to France where he died, I think its safe to say that “L'Overture gagne” meaning he won, in that he too was the “Opening” for the changes that would come later. In fact its there is some irony that all the revolution for change is often lost in the short term, when education and the pen make gains that are very hard to revere. Ray Charles to you was a singer Backwards and long ago he was a preacher This of course means if you take Ray Charles the singer’s name that I am sure most know and reverse the name, you get the name Charles Ray, the father of the three women. Argued to the Supremes Again, Charlotte E. Ray the lawyer did argue in the Supreme Court and so the play on words with “the Supremes” and one could infer many meanings in this line. Now the third sister was a teacher and I haven’t found out much about her, her name was Florence and Flo for short, and as I jumped periods with Ray Charles and Charles Ray, when I was reading about these strong women, and one must remember the time at which they made their accomplishments was not as today, it made me thing of another Flo, and therefore, I intermixed by thoughts of her with that of which I imagined the teacher would be. Little, refers to the publishing company who published Henrietta’s sonnets Not all poems are meant to be great, some are just stories, and I love adding double meanings and innuendo, because when engaging people in discussion, there is nothing that better than relating events and people they may know with those of the past they may not. As sometimes with students, we discuss poems at a local coffee shop, this type of poem makes for great discussions.
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