Part V: ready
This section was shorter than the others and it really was a great way to wrap up the book. Emotions welled up in me as I got towards the end of it. I felt like I knew this family. It had become mines in some unexplainable way and that is what writers do. We give a part of ourselves freely to the world. Something about us always stands revealed. Like I said, each poem sparked something in its own way.
“after greenville #2”- We’ve all encountered death and we know how much it changes things. The absence of a loved one creates such a void. You miss their laughter, their unique habits, the time they shared with you. All of that is no longer present…well not entirely. A part of someone always lingers with you and never exactly goes away.
“mimosa tree”- Those of us who leave home always find our ways to keep a piece of it with us when we go. For Woodson’s Grandmother it’s the seeds she brings with her to New York that let her keep some part of her husband and her home. We all do it. We all cling to something familiar when we’re away from the people and things we love.
“bubble-gum cigarettes”- Kids will be kids. We’re all fascinated with adulthood as children. This is why the images we present to our children of what it means to be an adult are so important.
“what’s left behind”- I think it’s true of anyone who’s around younger children in their family that you see pieces of relatives in them. I look at my nieces and see their Mother’s feisty spirit. Woodson’s Grandmother looks at her and sees the husband she’s lost. I think it’s comforting to find those pieces because it reminds you that the person hasn’t really left at all.
“the stories i tell”- This poem makes me appreciate being a military brat. I was never really subjected to sameness and never felt the pressure to tell stories about where I’ve been or what I’ve done.
“fate & faith & reasons”- Kids have a way of asking you the profound questions and not even know they’re doing it. They’re not bogged down in the day to day. Their simplicity and pureness of thought is something we can all stand to draw on.
I won’t go through all the poems in this section. I want you to have a reason to buy the book. If you don’t buy for itself yourself then buy it for a child. This collection of poems is truly uplifting and it is so human. Our world is lacking in empathy and one way to cultivate that necessary emotion is by reading, by learning through the experiences of another. Woodson displays such humanity throughout this collection. It’s worth checking out.