Poor Helga Crane. I must confess, I did not expect that within its last thirty pages, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand would turn into an out-and-out tragedy. But that is exactly what it did, all seemingly the result of an ill-timed walk in the rain. Heartbreaking it was, to this reader at a distance of nearly a century, that even death would say, No, you have not suffered enough — heartbreaking especially because she did learn, or at least had begun to, and was now too worn and helpless to break free. And so she sinks, and is sinking still — along with all who do not see in themselves the source of society’s ills.
With the cooler fall weather, the juncos have returned. It’s good to see them knee deep in birch leaves, finding things to eat. Despite their little black hoods, there seems no solemnity about them; they play at their work and work at their play. Surely, though, in the hush of the evening, they must pause to reflect and look up at the stars. They have no computers or televisions, yet they are the perfect mobile device.
Are worms aware of the stars? Are fish? Even if they can’t see them, they must read about them in their literature of seaweed and mold.
October 28, 2020
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Categories: New Poems & Pieces
Tags: Birches, Death, Diaries, Fall, Helga Crane, Journals, Juncos, Library of America, Mold, Nella Larsen, Quicksand, Reading, Seaweed, Suffering, Technology, The Harlem Renaissance, Tragedies