Rhythm Method

(The poem I’ve written below is based on the “Five Principles for Getting through the Trump Years,” given by Alice Walker in her speech at a reading in La Manzanilla, Mexico two nights ago on February 20, 2017. I was fortunate enough to be at that reading where she and four other excellent writers also talked about subjugation, prejudice, inequality, poverty and the importance of kindness, open-mindedness, acceptance and education in bringing our country to a better level of fairness to all.  I’ll talk about some of the other poets and storytellers who told their tales in a later post; but for today, and since it fit in with today’s prompt, here is my take on Ms. Walker’s wonderful talk.)

Rhythm Method

You’ve got to listen to the beat.
Shake your booty, pound your feet.
If you want to survive the day,
the rhythm method is the way.
It’s been said by smarter folks than I
that it’s the way that we’ll get by
in times we think we won’t survive—
the way we stay fully alive
in spite of voters who were hazy
and voted in a man who’s crazy.

Instead of listening to his bleat,

until the time of his defeat,
first and foremost, kindness will
help us to swallow this bitter pill.
A close connection with nature might
help us stay strong in the fight.
Respect for all those elders who
just might be another hue:

native tribes or Africans
brought unwillingly as hands
to shore up our economy
and build a country for you and me
while they paid the awful fee
in poverty and slavery.
It’s time to set our people free!

Gratitude for human life,
both theirs and ours, will allay strife.
In times like these, less than enhancing,
“Hard times demand furious dancing!”
One wiser and more in the groove
than I am, says that we must “Move!”
James Cleveland sang “This too shall pass,”
Turn on his music and move your ass.

Thousands of people dance along
this wonderful old gospel song
in her mind’s eye and I agree.
While we are waiting, you and me,
for enough others to see the light
and step in line to wage the fight,
we have to keep the joy in us
in spite of this unholy fuss
that seeks to keep us frightened and
prisoners in our native land.

Instead of knives and swords and guns,
defeat the tyrant with jokes and puns.
Comedians will save the day
and keep us laughing on the way.
But in the mean time, move your feet.
Feel the rhythm. Feel the beat.
If this nation has a chance,
perhaps we’ll find it in the dance.

The quotations above are all from Alice Walker’s talk. In prose form, here again are her five principles for getting through the Trump years (or hopefully, months.)

1. Kindness, which can keep us going through these unkind times.

2. A close connection with nature.

3. Respect for our oldest biological ancestors including native Americans (specifically those at Standing Rock), Africans  (who survived the fierce physical brutality of slavery) and Europeans such as John Brown and Susan B. Anthony.

4.  ‘Move!  Hard times demand furious dancing.’ Reverend James Cleveland sang, “This too shall pass.”  Get a recording of it and dance to it! She has an image of thousands of people dancing to this wonderful gospel song.

5. Maintain gratitude for human life.

She ended by relating the importance of meditation, which she described as a means “to rediscover the blue sky that is our mind,” and by stating that one way we can overcome the constant bad news with which our oppressors drug us is to learn the bad news first from comedians. This, perhaps, is one way for us to get through this dark period in our history.

The prompt today was rhythmic.

17 thoughts on “Rhythm Method

  1. sanjuan831

    Thank you! This really helped me and the summary of the five principals at the end was closure in a simple form. Great advice. Th comedians have lots of material to work with. Crazy times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hirundine608

    Honestly, the man Mr. Trump seems little different, to Presidents past? I was more alarmed by Ronald Reagan and the Bush 1& 2. The last one talked a good line but instead we saw an acceleration of bombings and attempts to overthrow sovereign nations.

    From my point of view, in Canada. If he only does a half job of draining the swamp. That is better than the previous two terms spent under Barack and Michelle. They seemed to come at you sidewise. Universal healthcare seems a nice prospect? It is here in Canada. Yet even in Canada successive governments tamper with it. Giving back portions to private interest. Because we should all know by now? That people’s health needs makes money. Lots of it.

    I am just thankful the odious Billary, was not elected. For the swamp seems deep around her … Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn Armstrong

    I like the spoonful of sugar and a case if bourbon. that seems to be how the British get through just about everything.

    I go through periods where I try to love everyone, then all I want is to be rid of everyone. Garry and I go through watching all of the awful stuff on the TV, then spending the next couple of days ignoring it to an equal degree. I hope you find a place to watch this madness that will work for you. it’s going to be a very difficult few years for all of us. IF you don’t mind, I would like to reblog this, like maybe next week? I think a second viewing never hurts. Let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      You are always welcome to reblog anything of mine, Marilyn, but thanks for asking. I think as usual, just reblog and it will cut where it will and hopefully they’ll come on to my blog to finish reading..(answering your second comment..)


      1. Marilyn Armstrong

        It’s hard with poetry. I don’t like cutting a poem in the middle (unless it’s something from TS Eliot, of course) and I tried cutting it before the clips at the end, but then they wouldn’t even know they were there, so finally, I put it all in. It was too good to not use 🙂



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