Monday, October 20, 2014


Audre Lorde's poem, "Power," is quite an incredible piece. Detailing the killing of a ten year old black child, Lorde creates a nightmarish landscape. "I am trapped in a desert of raw gunshot wounds," Lorde writes, setting the scene as she continues: "a dead child dragging his shattered black/face off the edge of my sleep" (3372). The opening two stanzas are so full of this raw, powerful energy, that really seem to make obvious how tragically Lorde feels for this child. In the little bio on Lorde, it mentions "Lorde insisted that she wrote to fulfill her responsibility 'to speak the truth as [she felt] it" (3372). What it does not mention, however, is just how incredibly vivid her words are. The scene she creates is so wicked, so vile, and yet, not so hard to believe. The beginning line had me thinking a lot about what exactly Lorde means; "The difference between poetry and rhetoric/ is being/ready to kill/yourself/instead of your children" (3372). Poetry is expression, pure emotion transferred to a page, as where rhetoric is being being persuasive, usually without any compassion or sincerity. I suppose she means, poetry is giving every piece of yourself for another; a poet tends to be very in touch with their emotions, as well as others, and they live for a more picturesque world, one of love. As to where rhetoric is the complete opposite, it seems to add a sense of selfishness. Where Lorde is a poet, the cop might be a rhetoric, willing to murder a child and then defend himself, with no remorse for his actions or the loss of life suffered.

Overall, this poem left me speechless. I read it over and over again, each time focusing more on a different stanza, jaw half dropping, because it felt like I could see it. I felt like I could have been there, at the scene, in the court room; Lorde makes it all feel so real. And all the while, I sympathize with her, as we all get upset when these things happen. Justice is rarely served. But one thing Lorde does realize, is even though we can necessarily obtain justice, we can remember these people through our expression.

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