“I Praise”

“Sam,” a ceramic created by Shelly Ann Moore.

“Despairing for the world,” I spotted her just as she about to get off the 85 bus. In a white, lacy, off-the-shoulder blouse and no-nonsense dark skirt, a black, canvas bag touting the name of whatever tech/Kendall Square conference she was about to attend slung over her bared, coffee-brown shoulder, she exuded confidence. Anticipation. Smarts. “Young, gifted, and black,” indeed. ( Need I add STEM-strong, too?) And, suddenly, because women like her lived in this broken world, too, my grief lifted.

A few weeks later, having just bought “Sam” at a craft fair in Ventura, California, I told my husband and brother-in-law that story. Falteringly I tried to put into words why this figurine so powerfully spoke to me.

“You suddenly saw another version of the future and a world you wanted to live in,” my brother-in-law offered.


Yes, mysteriously, Sam does somehow invoke that lifting, hope-filled moment on the 85 bus.

She does more, though. Weighted, burdened, as all Women Of Color are, nevertheless Sam persists, she stands, bending but unbowed. Because she’s “under the Power” as Shelly Ann Moore, her creator, put it. And, thus, ironically, her clasped hands remind me of a favorite poem by, yes, an Austro-Hungarian man:

O tell us, poet, what you do. –I praise.
Yes, but the deadly and the monstrous phase,
how do you take it, how resist? –I praise.
But the anonymous, the nameless maze,
how summon it, how call it, poet? –I praise.
What right is yours, in all these varied ways,
under a thousand masks yet true? –I praise.
And why do stillnesss and the roaring blaze,
both star and storm acknowledge you? –because I praise.


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  1. Hello my friend. I am highly please to have read this beautiful excerpt of enlightenment you experience through my artwork you so beautifully titled, “SAM”. As I was creating her I knew something was attach to me bigger than myself. As she came out of the kiln, she came out with authority and grace. Thank you for including her in this well written piece. Please keep in touch. Shelly Moore

  2. Dear Ms. Moore,

    Well, hello, there, Ms. Moore! WOW, what a blessed joy it is to behold and to bear witness to your creative brilliance with your very outstanding artwork! WOW, your deeply great work is very powerful! I so enjoy looking at your empowering artwork on the computer and read with such joy about you and your very astounding work on Patricia’s very interesting, fascinating, and informative blog. Ms. Moore, I am, we all are, just very blessed with you and the sheer grace and blessing of your deeply profound artwork. I thank-YOU for this gift and empowering blessing with all of your work! Please have such a nice day, Ms. Moore!

    Peace To You Always,

    Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

  3. Dear Patricia,

    Well, hello, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you and FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special, soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, sistah, I just so love this very interesting, fascinating, and so chock full of such great information blog post article here by absolutely AWESOME YOU, Patricia!!!!! I, too, love SAM!!!! She is just amazing and looks really stately and spiritual. What a great discovery and find of yours here and what a great purchase which you've made in buying astounding SAM, my so, so very dearest and darling sistah and friend, Patricia!!!!! I'd not heard of Shelly Ann Moore before and her artwork of such creative brilliance and genius so I thank-YOU so, so much for letting me and each of us have the sheer joy and blessing of learning of her and her outstanding work! WOW! I so love how you love and cherish SAM!!!! She is very awesome and such a remarkable piece of artwork for certain! Sister, I so love your very apt and vivid description of the young, black woman who you saw getting off of the bus. This young, black woman sounds very brilliant and a part of, and, in fact, our very collective hope for our future, Patricia!!!! Sister, I'm with you here, Patricia, and very proud of this young, black woman, as I along with you imagine and percolate on what her life and life's ambition might be like! This so, so very dear young, black woman makes me think of as well of your dearest brother-in-law's comment. Like you, my so, so very dearest and darling friend, I see another vision of the future here not only with the young, black woman but also with SAM. As well, as you do, my and our so, so very absolutely AWESOME sistah, Patricia, I am just so, so very proud of other black women and other women of color and I with you, my and our so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful soul sisterfriend white woman honor other black women and other women of color for how we persevere despite being challenged by life's circumstances just like SAM as you so beautifully say bending, unbowed, but still persisting. My so, so very dear, dearest, precious, Patricia, I'm just so, so very much honored by YOU, sistahfriend, as a black woman, a woman of color my so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful soul sisterfriend white woman!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sisterfriend, I thank-YOU as the black woman, woman of color, who I am for this very empowering affirmation, support, acknowledgement, recognition, and validation from YOU, Patricia, and your so, so very dear and precious heart as you so love us so, so very much as your so, so very dearest and darling black sisters and other women of color as your very sisters!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU, Patricia, and this just mean all of the very world to me, sistah!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sisterfriend, SAM reminds me of myself, some other black women and other women of color, and, definitely, in fact, so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white women for sure, and our other sisters who are women of color as we all as sisters in our sisterhood as SAM clasps her hands seeming to be very faith-like we as women and sisters in our sisterhood continue to persist, resist, and interrupt!!!!!!! 🙂 3 Sistah, as I read your beautifully affirming words as to how black women and other women of color are weighted, burdened, and with me just feeling delightful from your deeply sincere love for us as your sisters I know in my very, very heart, and in my very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit that YOU, sistahfriend, and other so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white women are weighted, burdened with life ain’t being no crystal stair for you all as each and every one of you as such super white women are my very, very heart with me just so loving and cherishing each of you as white women A WHOLE BUNCH in just knowing how all of you as white women are very egregiously oppressed by pervasively pernicious, sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny!!!!! Sister, YOU, my dear, dearest, precious Patricia, and other absolutely AWESOME other white women are one of us-one of me and one of all of us along with each of us as your black sisters and other women of color as your so, so very dearest sisters!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I think all of this, and, in fact, I see, do, feel, and believe all of this from the deepest depths of my very heart from the very bottom of my very heart with all that I have with all of my very being!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 We all share such a common denominator together as sisters-all of us together in the very unity of the spirit: so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white women in the great spirit of unity and solidarity with black women with other women of color!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!

    Sister, the title of your very fine and excellent blog post article here is perfect, just absolutely perfect being perfectly fitting and applicable to the great themes and topics of your very engaging and endearing writing here. The pictures which you've very graciously and generously featured and included with this very brilliant composition are just perfect, picture perfect, and I so love that I get to see and very joyfully bear witness to amazing SAM and in so enjoying both pictures with such sheer and blessed delight! WOW, what soft, lovely quilts there are in the pictures, too! I thank-YOU so, so much for how you've as usual as always once again featured and included very many interesting, fascinating, and informative links with your very salient and cogent writing here!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, Patricia, I so always enjoy and love all of the links which you add to your very creatively brilliant compostions!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW!!!!! I'm very eagerly with such fun reading through all of the vast wealth of information in these very powerful links, my friend!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I love so the very poignantly deep poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. WOW!!!!! I remember with such joy what a blessing it was as well when you awhile back featured a poem by this sagacious and poetic man!!!!!! WOW!!!!! I love this so, my friend!!!!!!! All of these great links are so rich with such great details and very interesting, fascinating information, sistah!!!!! Sistahfriend, I love so here the great link regarding our stupendous Nina Simone!!!!! What a blessed joy to revisit here about her and her creative talent!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!

    My so, so very dearest and darling friend, I am as usual as always once again For Always very much uplifted, inspired, honored, affirmed, emboldened, and encouraged by YOU, sistahfriend, with your riveting creative compositions written with such brilliance and the very stroke of genius, with your other sagacious writings and books, and with all you do so, so very well in such a very fine and excellent fashion doing your absolutely best putting your very heart and spirit into all you do in such a diligently conscientious manner, Patricia!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, Patricia, WOW!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!! 🙂 <3 I've such greatly added cheer and feel even more bright very joyously reading this absolutely empowering blog post article and responding with my very heartfelt, detailed, and thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments!!!!! 🙂 <3 Plus, this is such great fun for me, too, Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU, Patricia, and your words which you so perceptively and keenly intuit are like sunshine in my life full of such brightness and radiance!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, I so, so very much love and cherish YOU, and I thank-YOU and Spirit continually FOR YOU and FOR YOUR VERY PRESENCE in my very life!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!! YAY for our very sisterhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sisterfriend, YOU are my life and eternal blessings just as I know somehow that you are for very many other people who just so, so very much love and cherish you as I do A WHOLE BUNCH, Patricia, and as you so love and cherish us, too!!!!!! 🙂 <3 My friend, please have such a thrilling and totally terrific Thursday, a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!! 🙂 <3 Spirit just so loves and cherishes you a whole lot, Patricia, and so do I!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Patricia, YOU are just the very greatest and the best!!!!! 🙂 <3 I, we. thank-YOU for being the absolutely WONDERFUL YOU who you are, Patricia!!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always awesomely special and dearly precious soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you're For Always so, so very much, Patricia, sistah and friend of mine, with My and Spirit's Very Peace and Love FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Very Even More Blessings FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, sister of mine, 🙂 <3

    Yours FOR ALWAYS soul sisterfriend Christian black woman and For Always in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

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