ysabetwordsmith: Sheba with parrot wings (fledgling grace)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the May 2, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "red" square in my 4-1-17 card for the Month of Rainbows Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] daisiesrockalot. It belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.


"The Black and the Red"


It was never about race,
but about building bulwarks
for survival on common ground.

The Seminole tribe evolved
from refugees seeking places
where the white invaders
would not follow, mostly
Muskogee Creeks.

Alongside them came
runaway slaves and maroons,
and free negroes who found
white society unlivable.

Some of the negroes
lived with the Seminoles
and blended into the tribe,
while others made villages
and alliances nearby.

They lived in the worst parts
of the land that they could find,
deep swamps and dense thickets
and air all a-swarm with mosquitoes,
the black and the red hiding together.

The Muskogee had come from
elsewhere in the south, nearly as
wet and warm as Florida; while
the negroes (or their ancestors) had
come from the jungles of Africa --
unlike the whites, adapted to
much colder and drier Europe.

They lasted for a long time
before finally being driven out
by the relentless tide of invaders.

Time passed, history whispered,
and much that was not written down
was forgotten or disbelieved.

Still it remained in family traditions.

Then the Fledging happened,
and for some, their history was
written in fresh new quills.

There were Seminoles
in Oklahoma who sprouted
the feathers of Senegal parrots,
green wings opening to reveal
startling yellow undersides.

There were African-Americans
who fledged into flamingos, at first
with drab feathers of warm gray,
but those who favored seafood
soon turned brilliant pink.

The historians clucked and tutted,
the elders shook their heads, but
there was nothing to be done about it.

People fluffed their outrageous plumage
and went on with their lives.

* * *

Notes:

Seminoles belong to a recognized tribe. Their background includes surviving harsh environments. The Black Seminoles came out of interactions between Native Americans and African-Americans.

Senegal parrots have green wings with yellow undersides.

American flamingos are native to Florida. In the wild, their vivid pink color comes from eating certain invertebrates and algae.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-21 09:49 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Oooh, something else that's pink b/c shellfish.

Salmon that are tank-farmed as opposed to net-farmed - i.e. live in a completely artificial environment miles from real ocean - have white flesh like any other fish, because they're fed a mostly-vegetarian diet. Color is added to the cleaned fish to make it the orange we're familiar with. Wild-caught salmon, munching out on plankton and such, and then later other fish, are naturally pink to orange, and the Copper River are a deep orange-red due to the extra feeding on whatever (water) bugs are available to survive the 300-mile upstream battle to their spawning grounds.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-21 10:26 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Which is one reason I avoid farmed salmon; I don't get along well with artificial colors.

A lot of folks don't. Furthermore, American farming methods are crap. Often literally. :(

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-21 10:54 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
If they are fertilizing with actual manure

IIRC you really only do that with catfish. The problem is they don't *filter* very well, so you end up with a lot of fish poo in the water... :P

But usually they use chemicals, and that causes problems.

Got it in one.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 05:31 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*nods* and with ... organic fertilizer... you have to let it compost long enough for the bugs that will make you sick to themselves die off, and other, beneficial, bacteria replace them... that's why you spade in the Zoo Doo in the fall and then plant in the spring...

Now, if it's been *processed*, then it's fine to just plop on there a few days before planting. But that's entirely different...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 06:12 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Mmmmmmm. You're gonna want to let that *settle* a few months first. Otherwise you'll have really loose soil that'll let that treeling blow over the first good storm you get.

My da had a good tool for digging holes like that... a Massey 245 tractor with a "stinger" in the tail... Could dig you a 24" outhouse pit 4' deep in just a couple of minutes. Now, we didn't use'em for outhouses, we used'em for airport lighting fixtures, but the tractor don't know what the hole is for... :)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 07:03 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
That works.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 04:41 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Reminds me of the time SLAC needed a big hole for a beam target -- they were looking for strange light, IIRC. They spec'ed it for a particular contractor with a big drill. He was underbid (by a factor of 10) by a crew of frat boys with shovels and pickaxes.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 05:47 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (Cozy)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
True dat... but as is often the case with transportation projects, we got bonus money for being fast (and penalized for going over schedule). (And being as we were based in a small town, frat boys were in short supply, but guys who knew how to drive a tractor were plentiful. :)

The other trick my da used: It's a pretty common thing to do not to re-fill one's cable trench with the (often rocky) dirt that came out of it, but with "electrical grade" (fairly coarse - drains well) sand. Normally this requires a front end loader and two guys with shovels. Dad got a cab-and-chassis truck with a very low first gear, and a grain bed that tapered towards the bottom, feeding an auger down the centre, which then fed a boom auger out to the side. Fill this bad boy with sand, put one guy up on the grain bed's catwalk (with a safety chain!) to keep the sand feeding, the other guy driving, and you could fill trench just a little faster than you could walk for as long as you had sand... probably good for a thousand feet or so of trench. The only reason you needed the front end loader was over at the sandpile to fill the thing... no jockeying around to position the next load, getting down, filling trench, getting back up, moving the loader...

We could lay half a mile of *completed* cable trench, with light fixtures, in a day. Which meant that, if all the fiddly bits were not too fiddly, we could light a whole (small) airport in two, maybe three weeks. Like this one. (Only we weren't nearly that fast on that project, because of all the gorram ROCKS... big ones. Which is why we put sand back in the trench in the first place. Rocks + frost heave = cable cut. Pain in the tuchus.)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-12-22 09:51 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (buzz)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
It was good enough to get me almost all the way through school, by which point I had acquired enough seniority elsewhere to pay for all of my penultimate quarter and a good chunk of my graduating quarter myself... so, yeah, I'd call that a success. :)

Only time I ever quit a job when management wasn't a problem. It was the Dixie heat... the day I decided to quit, it was 107F in the shade (and we weren't!)... I stuck it out until the end of the summer, and then went and got me a job *inside* with the computers, where it was cool! 31 years and change later, je ne regrette rien. African and Seminole genes put up with the heat a whole lot better than these Scottish ones do!!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-22 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I still love this one. I'm unable to get the image out of my head of a historically black church in, say, Milwaukee or Detroit with a member or two of the congregation distinctive in flamingo feathers. It is a warm fuzzy image indeed.

Bingo card

Date: 2018-02-13 10:02 pm (UTC)
heartsinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heartsinger
Is dated 4-1-17

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