At the risk of sounding unforgivably vain, I have to confess that my favorite poem –only when forced to name ONE and if threatened with being deprived of books and pens and paper for the rest of my life– would have to be The Onyx of Savannah by Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU. It is a poem that just happens to be about my work, but that’s only one part of the reason I appreciate it so very deeply.
The other part is because the poem is an excellent example of what the poet has described as the: “BIBLIOBIOGRAPHIC PROFILE ACROSTIC. It may be rhymed or Blank Verse on any poetic frame; and ‘Poetic License’ is allowed in the meter. The composition in this form must paint a profile on the Tributee, and use title(s) of the tributee’s literary production within the stanzas or stanza. The purpose of this form is to honor the Tributee-author, the language, the poetic Art, and to promote the tributee’s works.”
Bendavi ben-YEHU invented the form he describes and has perfected it over the course of documenting the lives and works of dozens of modern writers. The collected work as a whole is entitled The Live Pillars of the Basilica of the Poets and was first presented as a single extended post on AuthorsDen during National Poetry Month, April 26, 2007. Incredibly enough, to my knowledge, neither it or nor any volume of the poet’s amazing work has been published in book form. It was my tremendous honor to include an essay on Bendavi ben-YEHU in my book, The American poet Who Went Home Again.
The Onyx Of Savannah
The genius of American Fine Letters, tall,
Honoring his beloved country – as victor stands –
Enriching the creative mind in the science’s hall.
Sapient Son of the Father-Poet fills his tasks:
Unified revelation in wisdom and wonders,
Bestowing through the Verb that life bonders,
Love’s essence in his Major Art, words without masks!
Impartial commander handling swords of Justice,
Masterminding wise plans for – liberty and freedom –
Enforcing codes of knowledge in the hall of equality.
Philosopher, observer, scholar of our time;
Original creator accepting no blunders,
Emphasizing the gala of the pen, he ponders
The tomes of literary jewels for life’s rhyme!
Authoring gems, THE WISDOM OF W.E.B. DU BOIS;
Basking all VISIONS Of A SKYLARK DRESSED IN BLACK
ELEMENTAL, aspiring not for a gold sack,
Richness for temporal mind, dream of bourgeois!
Jovial brain and soul, THE PERSISTENCE OF DREAMS,
Heritage of THIS MOTHER’S SON full love’s devotion,
Admiral of the seas in the navy of motion
Network, I MADE MY BOY OUT OF POETRY’s themes!
If more – One asks to know – of supremes, my response:
– ENCYCLOPEDIA Of THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE!
By Andre Emmanual Bendavi ben-YEHU
Please allow me to encourage you to learn more about the poet’s work by clicking on the above link.
Also, the photo below of the Haitian Monument in Savannah, Georgia, is borrowed from the book A Guide to Our Two Savannahs, by Ellis Garvin. It is presented here out of respect for and in solidarity with the people of Haiti during this time of incredible crisis on the island-nation.