Wednesday, November 2, 2016

311


[photo courtesy Trinidad Guardian,
Thursday 31st July, 2008]

Undressing our more sophisticated T&T selves, will reveal bits of natural comfortable selves such as the particulars to death, grieving, and community participation in times of sadness. Two such aspects of this undress reveal: The Wake and The Bongo, icons of a cultural past

BONGO NIGHTS
Qua-qua line outside the circle
Sobs encircle
quiet mourning
in night's passing

Tack ah tack tack the bamboo clack
soul gone night black
loud the drums beat
creating heat

Tomorrow the undertaker
passage maker
fix up for rest
body behest
BONGO NIGHTS © gillena cox 2016


[photo Woodbrook Cemetery - Mucurapo Road, St. James, Trinidad; October 2016]

Glossary
Bongo/Wake...Steeped in a syncretism of African and Methodist religion, the Wake and Bongo has been around for a long time in Tobago. Dry biscuit was the normal fare at this ritual, perhaps because it was usually the people of the poorer class who held the wakes, and dry biscuits were sufficiently affordable to cater for the large crowds that would gather every night...

The Bongo
is performed at the house of the deceased on the night of the wake (the night before the funeral). The dance depicts the passing of a person from one world to the next.

The qua-qua - is the musical accompaniment for the dance and is simply two pieces of bamboo struck or clapped together rhythmically by the players. The flat sound is struck in the tempo tack-tata-tack-tack, tack-tata-tack-tack.


Blog hopping today at
Midweek motif
Day of the Dead - Susan's prompt

❧✿❧

[choice video today]



30 comments:

  1. I heard and felt the rhythm of this at home Bongo to release the soul before releasing the body. How moving!

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Susan

      much love...

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  2. The Japanese films Okuribito mentions about the passage maker.. your poem reminds me of the film. Nice to know about T&T culture. A celebration fitting to one's journey to another dimension

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Totomai

      much love...

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  3. This is fascinating....a very interesting cultural experience.

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Rall

      much love...

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  4. A grand send-off no less! In a way it is fitting as that is the last post, the final opportunity honor and in a dignified way to do so!

    Hank

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Hank

      much love...

      Delete
  5. I love the sound of these ways of honouring, with music and biscuits. Very cool.

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Sherry

      much love...

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  6. This is beautifully poignant, Gillena ❤️ and I learned something new today ❤️


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  7. Thanks for dropping in Sanaa

    much love...

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  8. What a lovely ritual. I love the rhythm, the emotion in the letting go of the dead here. Thanks for writing about it Gillena.

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Myrna

      Much love...

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  9. Excellent - thanks for the explanation - it's perfect. I could hear the ceremony in my head.

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Buddah

      Much love...

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  10. Our European style funerals seem somewhat bland in comparison. Thanks for the info Gillena!

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Robin

      Much love ...

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  11. Love the way you have incorporated the sounds...

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Thotpurge

      Much love...

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  12. love the rhythm and a very other worldly feel...i think ceremonies express our love for the departed...

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Sumana

      Much love...

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  13. It really took me to the place you were writing about. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Samyuktha

      Much love...

      Delete
  14. I'm loving the rhythm of this poem! A great read-aloud!

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  15. Thank you for your appreciation MMT
    Much love...

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  16. Love the rhythm and the sound words in your poem which makes the ritual of the passing over of the soul come alive

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation Marja

      much love...

      Delete
  17. I think your poem touches on the two conflicting emotions that mourners experience at the wake/funeral, Gillena: The immense sadness and desolation on the death of a loved one, and at the same time the sense of peace and comfort that the dead person has passed on to a better place, where there is no suffering and pain. A wake and funeral should have both dirges and celebrations because of this. I think your poem convey that duality well.

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  18. Thank you for your appreciation Nicholas

    much love...

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