Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Poem to be Sung" (Donald Harris Jr., 1938-2011)

Donald Harris, Jr.

"Poem to be Sung"
(Donald Harris Jr.)

I've got those weary worn out run down blues, which comes from walking too long in the same damn shoes. Well, I might blame my mama, but she done gone insane, or I might blame my daddy, but he done put a bullet through his brain. So I may as well thump and bump and jump the stump; but why does I always come out feeling like a donkey's rump? Maybe you think I should be eating worms and flies and maggots, until worms and flies and maggots are eating all on me. Well, let me tell you, lady, I ain't nowhere near the fool I used to be. Oh in frightening dreams I see Ezekial's wheel a whirling down on me, and like the harpist of Israel said I shed tears upon my bed, tears of bread to eat, tears in the withering heat. How many tears are shed for many men done gone where the turbid Mississippi flows? Oh who can hear the wail of weeping in the wind, the splashing of rain, the plashing of tears, the dull thudding of a grieving heart? Oh my little darlin' has a mighty fine oven that can bake my loaf of bread, but if she ain't in the mood for cookin', she can leave my weenie hangin' limp instead. Oh how terrible to be a lonesome me. But I loves to see her do her waggle dance, when she wants to show the way to the honey in her hive.

Athens poet and unique wordsmith Donald Harris Jr. died on September 20th at the age of 73. "Poem to be Sung" was performed at the September 7th Word of Mouth reading at The Globe in Athens, with Donald -- as the title indicates -- singing in a warm and wobbly tenor that surprised everyone, perhaps Donald most of all. Audio of Donald's poems, along with other poems and performances, is available at the Word of Mouth website.

Anyone who knew Donald would tell you his shy introspective character and unassuming onstage delivery hid a sharp wit and incredible attachment to all forms of the human condition. For those who are in the Athens area, the funeral plans are as follows: There is a visitation on Friday the 23rd from 6-8 pm at Bernstein Funeral home at 3195 Atlanta Highway in Athens. The funeral is the next day, Saturday the 24th at 11 am at the same funeral home and the burial is at 2 pm at Shiloh Baptist Church at 9595 Hwy 142 in Newborn GA.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thanks for posting, Mark. We lost a great voice.