06 May 2015


Poet/writer ntozake shange died on Saturday, 27 October 2018.  I pulled up this older poem that says what she means to me.  
May you have peace walking with the ancestors, mighty Lion.


“i found god in myself
and i loved her
i loved her fiercely” 

― Ntozake Shange

Why theatre?  Why poetry?  Why any-
thing at all? I found my answer on Broad-
way in nineteen-seventy-eight in a
chor-e-o-poem that blew my mind wide o-
pen and launched me on a walk from forty-
fifth street north through Central Park and in-
to the rest of my life.  n-to-zak-e
shang-e, I thank you for my vocation.

for colored girls who have considered su-
icide / when the rainbow Is enuf.  Wow!

Imagine horrific stories inside
friendship circles—in defeats belied by
such presence that the stage empowered all
on and in front of it.  Imagine feet
planted so no one could knock you over!
Imagine finding God in yourself and
loving her so fiercely that you expand
into a rainbowand you gain some sense 
of the day I saw seven Black woman
form a rainbow and transformed into what
God meant for me to do and to become.

For Björn and Toni's Poetics with Kanzen: What poets inspired you? at dVerse Poets Pub

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast 

A sample from the choreopoem / drama: 

“without any assistance or guidance from you
i have loved you assiduously for 8 months 2 wks & a day
i have been stood up four times
i've left 7 packages on yr doorstep
forty poems 2 plants & 3 handmade notecards i left
town so i cd send to you have been no help to me
on my job
you call at 3:00 in the mornin on weekdays
so i cd drive 27 1/2 miles cross the bay before i go to work
charmin charmin
but you are of no assistance
i want you to know
this waz an experiment
to see how selifsh i cd be
if i wd really carry on to snare a possible lover
if i waz capable of debasin my self for the love of another
if i cd stand not being wanted
when i wanted to be wanted
& i cannot
with no further assistance & no guidance from you
i am endin this affair

this note is attached to a plant
i've been waterin since the day i met you
you may water it
yr damn self” 


Myrna R. said...

I remember this, so many years ago. I didn't see it. Wish I had. Glad it served to ground and guide you. I like the raw honesty of your poem. That's who you are. Thank you Susan.

Unknown said...

Wow. Quite an inspiration indeed! It is definitely how poetry and a specific poem affects us - turns on that light behind our eyes, opens the doors of our hearts to let in fresh air and freedom, to stiffen our backbones to give us the courage to re-create ourselves. Nice take on this prompt and thank you for including some of the choreopoem! hayes Spencer is kanzensakura aka Toni

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ka-pow! I can imagine your mind being blown open by the choreo-poem.........LOVE the breaking up poem. Perfection and I can feel how the passion for being launched into your life's journey on that walk through Central Park. I would have loved to see seven women forming a rainbow. We need that theater to be happening again right now.

Claudia said...

now i wanna see that play... sounds awesome and seems it hit you like a flash... very cool when that happens... very cool when something we see or read or listen to touches those fine emotional strings within us

brudberg said...

Wow Susan.. what a wonderful expression in your poem.. your voice and anger comes through in these lines.. I can actually hear it spoken.. Very very strong.

Katie Mia Frederick said...

Ah.. a love of life.. as we become directors..
producers.. and actors of our own play with GOD..
that no one can play but
And the greaTEST thing of
all.. is it requires no
stage.. by
others at
Yes.. just..
innate instinct
and intuition..
born again..

Gabriella said...

Thank you for sharing how you came to the theater and poetry. Your lines are so powerful, especially in the last stanza. If only more people could be touched in this way.

Mary said...

I really like the last two lines of the second stanza. It shows the strong influence that theater and poetry had on you! I enjoyed the choreopoem also. I smiled broadly at the last stanza. Yes, water that plant yourself. Ha!

Unknown said...

Bravo, Susan. I think we need that seven-woman rainbow now! And the thing is, I don't like saying we need it, because times seem to be going backwards... Young black men are fearing for their lives just to walk down the damn street, while our mothers have to say a prayer every time we step outside. Black women getting fired from jobs for wearing natural hair, daily harassment on the street... I'm just so tired... We're tired.

Marina Sofia said...

That does sound like strong, inspirational stuff - at the time and for all time! Thank you for the lovely context around your poem. 'feet planted so no one could knock you over' - love that especially!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW! Your poem is wonderful, as is the fabulous part of the chorio-poem. I need to read this book. I wonder if the film with the same title is based on this work.

Anmol (HA) said...

Oh, your poem has this strength and resilience derived from personal experiences and built on the foundations of self and being, as is also evident in your source of inspiration.
Such powerful writing — I am just wowed by the second stanza. It says so much, capturing so much of the tension and violence, and its derivation in your eyes as the audience and the aftermath of your transformation and becoming.

Gillena Cox said...

Its awesome when a light dims leaving the bright memory of its radiance. Thanks for your poem today Susan
Happy ypu dropped by mh sumi-e Sunday today


Anonymous said...

The tremendous loss of another great voice and life. :(

I remember the first time I came across her words when I was much younger, and damn, if I didn't stop for breath. Completely. Wholly. For days. And I know this is going to sound profoundly insane - but it felt like I had a sister under the skin, a special older sister who just knew, understood and said, hell, yes, we're are the world and we are going to take it on, anyhow - and I am of your pain too. And I swear, I felt such a kinship with her, which confused the hell out of me, for years, because, I am a white girl. White. From "middle class wealth and pretensions" - although it's never been my voice. So yeah, she completely rocked my world. And confused me. And scared me. And empowered me. And opened my eyes even wider, even for all the pain and fear.

So when you wrote those lines, nestled in the poem, "Imagine finding God in yourself and
loving her so fiercely that you expand
into a rainbow"

this all came flooding back to me - like a tsunami!

some people are larger than life; some people we may never meet face to face - yet the marks they leave, the scars which are beauty spots and imprints that transform into the most gorgeous of images, give us wings that will lift us, and light our way ... and She is/was one of those most remarkable people.

I think you've captured the essence of this - this spirit, in this new-for-old poem. And it all just dances on the tongue and releases the spirit child wild - for high, Susan. :)

brudberg said...

Wow Susan, so nice to come back and read it once again... a revisit is always good.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

When that show also came to Melbourne, Australia, it blew me wide open too! (How could it not?) Perhaps with not quite such a huge, life-changing impact as it had on you, as I was already doing what I was meant to, but it was still revelatory. And so is your beautiful, stirring poem.

Wendy Bourke said...

Wow! What a stunning post - the epiphany of this experience on you resonates profoundly in the words you have chosen to capture it. So impactful - and a joy to read.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Is there within each of us the power to become a rainbow? Somehow I think there is. (Your poem points me in that hope-filled direction.)

Mary said...

This is wonderful. I am glad that you shared this poem again. Very powerful, and I definitely can tell how much influence she had on your life. There are some people whose lives matter, and it sounds as if hers really mattered!!

ZQ said...


Thotpurge said...

Wow...that packed a punch! Loved it. From "through Central Park and in-
to the rest of my life." to loving the god inside fiercely... to the tribute to the poet...this left a deep impression. Thank you Susan.

Old Egg said...

Yes, that poem really is inspirational. What a great read this post of yours is.

dsnake1 said...

thank you, Susan, for letting us know this inspiring woman.

Cressida de Nova said...

You describe your epiphany very well I like the personal touches...the walk through Central Park... your road to Damascus.I liked the excerpt you provided from the play as well, which I ashamedly have not been aware of. A sad loss for the nation to lose this imspirational talented artist..Love this poem.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness this is good!❤️ I can truly hear and feel the emotion in your words Susan! LOVE!❤️

Magaly Guerrero said...

I can see why the experience made such an impression... As many have said before me, "Wow!"