Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Lyrical Gestures"

This poem came out of the January 21, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] mdlbear. It also fills the "disability" square in my 8-29-13 Wordsmith Bingo card. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

"Lyrical Gestures"

Chrysta had known Dale and Kelly
long enough to understand that
Dale loved folk singers
while Kelly wasn't as fond of them --
and she'd heard the story about the mime
even though she hadn't been in the park --

but Chrysta was still more
Kelly's friend than Dale's,
so it caught Dale by surprise
when Chrysta came bouncing up to her
at the farmer's market.

There's a concert at Jamaica Park,
Chrysta signed. They've booked
three different folk singers --
and a sign language interpreter!
You should ask Kelly to go.

Dale was intrigued by the possibility
of going to a folk concert with Kelly
where both of them could enjoy it.
When Kelly came back with bags
full of strawberries and sugar peas,
Dale suggested the concert
and Kelly agreed to go.

The concert was scheduled
for the next Saturday afternoon.
Chrysta went with a handful of Deaf friends
she knew from school, and Kelly
spent a few minutes chatting with them
before settling into a chair beside Dale.

The first folk singer was a guitarist,
warming up the crowd
with slow, soulful songs before
switching to something more lively.
The interpreter swayed along with him,
her slim hands gradually gaining speed.

The next set featured an Irish trio --
harp, tinwhistle, and bodhran --
with the harpist also singing.
There were drinking songs and sea chanteys
and long graceful ballads about fairies.
The interpreter kept pace with the lyrics,
but her toes tapped along with the drum.

Finally there came a duo,
a man with a fiddle
and a woman with a tambourine
who danced while she sang
songs of the open road
and the interpreter followed along.

By then it was evening,
and the shadows made it harder
to see what anyone was saying.

Dale and Kelly were not expecting
the sign language interpreter
to return for a solo --
much less what she was wearing.

"Are those LED gloves?"
someone asked behind them.

Whatever they were, they glowed,
as did the bracelets looped on her arms
and the necklaces around her throat
and the strands of colored light in her hair.

It was more like scat singing
than anything else, not so much words
as shapes repeated and flowing
through light into shadow,
eerie and beautiful.

At the end, the audience
gave her a standing ovation.

On the way home, Dale resolved
to watch for more performances
that she and Kelly could enjoy together.

* * *


Read about the Jamaica Plain Farmer's Market.

Jamaica Pond is a local park used by the Jamaica Plain Music Festival.

The interpretation of folk songs is an art. More music venues are offering this service. Learn how to sing in ASL.

Luminous jewelry comes in many variations including glow sticks and LED. The LED gloves are also real, and while I haven't seen anyone doing this exact act, it was easy to extrapolate from other twilight shows and sign performances that I have watched.
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, music, poem, poetry, reading, romance, weblit, writing

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