Hello everyone! Welcome to A Hundred Quills once again. I am joining the WEP after a long gap and I am glad to be back!

The prompt for this April is a watercolour by Claude Clark, the African American artist and art educator, called Freedom Morning, painted in 1941. (see image below).

Claude Clark was born in Georgia in 1915. His art characterises the African American diaspora experience. He faced prejudice, poverty and racism but did not allow these to deter him. He mixed his own paints from the trashed tubes in art schools. When he could not afford the expensive brushes and cleaning agents, he developed his unique technique with the palette knife. Read more about his remarkable life here. (from the WEP website).

Here in India, we are going through the second wave of coronavirus and it is worse than the last time. It is a difficult gloomy time with the numbers rising continuously and crumbling health facilities. When I saw Claude Clark’s painting, it spoke to me at various levels, but predominantly I could only think of breaking free from the shackles of the virus and also from deceitful, incompetent governance.

I have attempted a poem, keeping it hopeful with prayers and good faith.

Freedom Morning

The exalted circle rose
before their unbelieving eyes,
a ripe lemon with
its mouth
dabbed in red,
shattering the darkness
of all times.
A sliver of gold
at first,
its arms outstretched
Bathing the white chalk
up the mountainside
in its aureate light.

The bugle of victory
was long awaited
in dingy alleys of
standing stones
in a fortress so strong.
Pulling down walls
of resentment
and fear
pints of untruth
viruses smeared,
Mortgaged futures for
obscene sirens,
Deaths lurking
behind fickle violence,
was never an easy affair.

Bricks and mortar
systematically raised
Fortresses of suppression grown
taller with age.
an archipelago of d e s p a i r
a whirlpool of mayhem
in a sea of existence.
Those who were
shrivelled up— us and them—
would they ever escape?

No hocus pocus this
Mind you!
Only the gravity-defying
could climb up
walls of fortresses, the impossible
which seemed.
they did,
on the Freedom Morning.
And the shrivelled stood up like
—unfurling blooms—
The colours of promise
pirouetting in myriad hues.

A dripping light
of yellow semblance,
A gleeful breeze in turquoise blue,
escaping sighs of
pearly relief, glinting
in eyes- the homes (to now)
endless possibilities.

– Sonia Dogra

Total words- 198

Thank you to the hosts for this month, Denise, Olga, Laura, Nilanjana, Renee. Happy WEP!

43 thoughts on “WEP APRIL 2021- FREEDOM MORNING”

  1. A wonderfully evocative poem. I have been thinking of what India is enduring. Here in the United States, people are becoming complacent. I doubt this virus is through with us yet.
    ~cie from poetry of the netherworld~

  2. So much beautiful hope at the end! It will be wonderful when the world defeats this virus. Great use of the prompt.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  3. What a lovely and relevant poem to capture such sadness, and yet also some hope. I’m saddened to learn of the situation where you are and will continue to pray for improvements. Thank you for such thoughtful words.

  4. Your poem has beautiful imagery Sonia and despite the problems you managed to inject a note of hope. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    Stay safe! We’re all going through a hard time here in Delhi.

  5. Your imagery is wonderful and perfectly portrays the struggle of living with this virus. Hopefully we’ll soon taste the freedom of getting back to daily life.

  6. What an amazing poem Sonia… Loved every bit of it. And the ending… So powerful. Really hope we can all defy that gravity and climb out of that long standing fortress (at least the current one of Covid) sooner.

  7. Nilanjana Bose

    Brilliant, vivid imagery! Love the note of hopefulness – without hope we are truly lost.

    Incompetence and intolerance are viruses even worse than covid! The news out of India lately has been horrifying. Extremely worrisome. Stay safe and well.

  8. I hear you Sonia, loud and clear and soft, too.
    ‘Unfurling blooms- colours of promise’ love the underlying hope.

  9. Hi,
    The positiveness of your poem comes through. It’s like looking through a set of binoculars as one tries to find out what freedom really is.
    Shalom aleichem

  10. Hi Sonia – this is an amazing poem and I definitely need to re-read through. What you’re experiencing in India at the moment … must be so difficult and awful for so many. There’s no respite, yet there has to be hope – humans are hopeful … stay safe – Hilary

  11. Sonia… It was like reading a painting! You have quite literally painted a picture with your words. Can relate to it, in these terrible times… and yet hope for ‘pearly relief’ waiting for us at the end.

  12. As Nick said, Sonia, fantastic imagery. I loved my first reading, but will return to mull over your words. I’m sure there’s more to your poem than can be garnered with one read. Yes, India is having a horrific time with covid. As are many other countries. I think we have to learn to live with it because it refuses to go away.

    1. I’ve been back for my second reading, Sonia. I tried to pick out a phrase, an image, a word that resonated deeply with me, but there are just too many. Thank you.

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