A Celebration of This Dance Called Life, in Words and Pictures

I am posting my special birthday tribute to Michael a day early, in anticipation of the fact that I will be leaving town early on the 29th, heading for Gary, and will not be back until Monday, September 3.

About a year ago I began writing a collection of poems that I planned, eventually, to encompass Michael’s entire life, from birth to death. I have kept these poems pretty much under wraps (mostly because I’m a perfectionist who never trusts that my work is “good enough” until I’ve revised about fifty million times!) but in the spirit of celebrating Michael’s birth and his extraordinary life, I will share with you the first three poems of the series. When I began the collection, my idea-being very much inspired by Dancing The Dream-was to write a series of poems in Michael’s own voice, telling his own story as he might have told it. There were times when I could almost hear his lilting voice in my head, channeling these words through me! I still have much more to go, but I hope you will enjoy these first three pieces. They hold a special place in my own heart, as I felt, with these, that  I was connecting to a period in his life that was his last vestige of true innocence.

I am also very proud and honored to accompany these poems with the beautiful original artwork of Mimi O’ Garren, who has given me permission to use them. These are some of the same prints that I will be (hopefully) presenting in a special book to Katherine, Prince, Paris, and Blanket on August 31st for the Everland Project.

I told Mimi that since I would be gone for several days, I wanted to have something beautiful on the front page for readers to see and appreciate until I can return to post about the events in Gary. I think these prints fit the bill just fine, for they are definitely beautiful, are they not?

Just like Michael.

In the meantime, I will try to update via Facebook and Twitter when I can, but there is no guarantee I will have internet access, so please be patient. Unlike 99.9% of the world’s population, I am not entirely mobile yet-I’m still hung back with the horse and buggy! Remember that if you leave a comment, your comment may be held in que until I can release it (especially if you are a new poster). I will still be here throughout today (the 28th), so if you have any last minute well wishes or messages for Katherine and the kids, please send them on. After tomorrow, I will not have access to approve comments, so if yours does get held in que, just hang tight. I will release all comments as soon as I return next week.

 

 

My mother said-

 

I was born on a hot summer night

That no moon shone.

Her water broke by accident;

Later the contractions began; the

Rhythm not ceasing till I came to be.

 

I was silent and scared her

In my silence till the doctor’s slap-

Afterwards she held me,

Caressed my long fingers-

 

Which she said made her think

Of her father-in-law

 

And then held me quiet to her chest

Till I cried no more, for I was safe there

 

More safe than I would ever be again.

 

I slept to the beating of her heart

 

The first rhythm I ever recalled

 

And thus it began for me,

The rhythm of this dance

Called life.-(c) Raven Woods

“Lonely”

When I came home-

I didn’t know yet I was one of many.

The world existed only for me

In this blissful state that leaves too soon.

 

I didn’t know I had big brothers and sisters who fought

Over who would hold me, play with me, eventually

Teach me wrong from right and sometimes right

To wrong again; we would live and learn together.

I didn’t know Mother sang songs to keep from crying.

I didn’t know then that one day Father

Would tell me not to call him that anymore.

 It was good times. I grew.-(c) Raven Woods

 

 

My brother said-

I mocked him by age three; stole his moves.

It wasn’t like I was stealing; just mimicking what I saw

Only even then I had a natural knack

 To take what I saw

And make it better.

Mother said I danced to the squeak of the washing machine,

Hand on hip like I already knew what cool was.

I could have told them I didn’t know Cool yet

But I did know the meaning of being happy, secure.

And free.

I climbed the trees in our back yard. I imagined

I was like the birds; sometimes without Mother knowing

I fed and petted the rats who snuck inside.

 I loved them all-the birds, the rats-I loved the rats because

They were misunderstood; the birds because they were free

 And happy, like me.

It was all so brief, so brief.

 

One day I woke up, five years old,

Beating my wings against a cage;

I never even saw the door snap shut; the bars come down.

 But one day I sang for my school.

I sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and didn’t understand

Why it made my grandpa Samuel cry; looking out,

I saw many crying, some standing. Everyone was clapping.

 

I felt so happy inside knowing I had made them happy

But still did not understand why grandpa cried

 I only knew later that day when I played

It was the last time I would know what it meant

 To sing and be free

At the same time. -(c) Raven Woods

My Personal Favorite Piece, “Michael And George.” Can You Also Spot Prince, Paris, and Blanket?
54 Years Later, This Dance Called Life Continues

10 thoughts on “A Celebration of This Dance Called Life, in Words and Pictures”

  1. Seeing your beautiful words next to my paintings leaves me speechless; I love the way they fit together, the way your words weave in and around the pictures. Your writing is very very lovely. x

    1. Thank you, Mimi, and for your beautiful work! I can’t wait to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they see these for the first time (as I hope they will).

  2. This is my first time posting here, but I’ve been a silent reader for quite a long time.:P

    Thank you for the wonderful birthday tribute to Michael, Raven. The three poems you penned are lovely, and Ms. O’ Garren’s artworks are superb.<3

    Wish you a safe and fruitful trip to Gary. My warmest regards to Mrs. Jackson and Michael's three children. I hope after the family chaos, they'd be able to find healing in this special occasion. I can't wait to hear about all the details when you get back.

    1. Thank you. I just hope to see everyone having a good time! I was just thinking, I don’t know how much-if any-I should get into the recent situation if I get to interview them. I’m sure they will let me know in advance what topics are off limits. Unfortunately I will probably not have time for an in-depth interview (at least I do not anticipate such being the case) so I will have to hone in quickly. Mostly I do not want to ask the same old, tired, worn out questions that everyone else asks (but by the same token, I probably cannot get into anything too deep or controversial). I am thinking lightweight but unique and interesting-and that could still cover a lot of ground! Maybe we can talk Alabama (lol) since that’s something Katherine and I have in common.

      I just found out recently that Latoya is going to be there, too. This might be a good opportunity to prod about that racial beating she said Michael got in Alabama, since she was the one who wrote about it.

  3. Thank you Raven for sharing your lovely poems that are such a wonderful tribute and remembrance of Michael on the celebration of his birthday.

    Thank you also to Mimi O’Garren for her amazing artwork. In my opinion, there are few artists who can really capture Michael’s one of kind, incredible eyes and smile. Mimi has done that and also captured the essence of Michael’s loving spirit in her gorgeous drawings. I hope everyone will check out the Everland Project at MichaelJacksonsLegacy.org. It is a wonderful tribute to Michael’s legacy of Love.

    What a wonderful gift of Love for Mrs. Jackson and Michael’s children on this special but sad occasion to recive a book of these gorgeous drawings. I wish I could be there with you in Gary! My warmest wishes and thoughts will be with all of you tomorrow!
    Happy Birthday Michael!!

    (I think I found Prince, Paris and Blanket in the lovely “Michael and george” drawing. Are they the 3 heart shaped images on the blanket draped over the chair behind Michael?? That is my guess!)

    1. Actually, I hadn’t even noticed those! But that is a great observation. There are three objects in the drawing that represent each child.

  4. Well now I see it clearly!!! The Crown, the Eiffle Tower and the Blanket! I was trying too hard to find something that looked like it could be their actual images and looked right past the obvious even when I was staring at the blanket. Maybe those images on the blanket ended up there without Mimi even knowing it and are Michael’s special contribution to the painting! I know he must be thrilled with all of Mimi’s work!

  5. Lovely post Raven.
    Your poetry is wonderful and Mimi’s drawings are just beautiful. Thank You both very much. What a lovely way to pay tribute to our Michael for his birthday.
    I hope you have a great time in Gary! Can’t wait to read what you have experienced.

    I didn’t realise until now that you were on Twitter. I don’t see a link on this site (and im not on facebook). What is your handle so I may look you up and follow any messages you send while away? Thanking you in advance.

    Happy 54th Birthday Michael Jackson!

  6. Raven,

    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful artwork from Mimi and your lovely words!! Both go so well together and are a fitting tribute for the 54th anniversary of Michael’s birth!!!

    Sandy

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