Friday, May 26, 2006

ASL poetry

I'm having so much fun in my sign language class. We are studying ASL poetry and I get to create a poem each week and perform it in class, as well as seeing everyone else's poems. Yesterday our class broke into four groups and each group created an ABC story--a story that uses handshapes A through Z to tell a story. All four of the stories were great!

The sign for poetry is symbolic of the heart swelling with emotion, until it spills out in poetry.

I've translated two more poems. They aren't very pretty in English, but oh well. Maybe I can work with them and make them flow better.

This poem uses three handshapes to tell the story: 5 hand, H hand, and F hand.

The Olympic flag flutters in the wind. Happy. Beautiful.
The time! Hurry!
Goggles on, climb onto the board.
Look down, down, down. Fear. Deep breath.

Bouncing, jump, perfect dive.
Water bubbles float past my face.
Look up, up, up. Break the surface of the water.
Goggles off. Check the score board. YAY!!!!!

Ribbon lifted over my head.
Medallion rests on my chest.
Music. Tear. Smile.
Hand over heart.
This next poem is for my final test. The assignment was to create a poem that was about two paralle worlds. Mine includes other elements of ASL poetry, as well--rhythm and repetition.
Old woman. Hobble, hobble hobble.
Enjoys the world. Watch, watch, watch.
Baby girl. Crawl, crawl, crawl.
Enjoys the world. Reach, reach, reach.
A cup of hot tea. Stir, stir, stir.
Shaky hands lift to lips. Drink, drink, drink.
A rattle toy. Shake, shake, shake.
Warm bottle. Suck, suck, suck.
Old woman grows tired, tired, tired.
Rests in a rocking chair.
Rock, rock, rock.
Her hands keep busy. Knit, knit, knit.
Baby girl grows up, taller, taller.
Soars high in a swing.
Swing, swing, swing.
Throws back her head. Laugh, laugh, laugh.
Woman says, “Someone, someone, someone.
Please, please, please.

Come talk with me. Chat, chat, chat.”
Person says, “No, no, no
Later, later, later.”
Girl says, “Mommy, mommy, mommy,
Please, please, please.
Read to me. Read, read, read.”
Mother says, “No, no, no
Later, later, later.”
Woman feels alone, alone, alone.
A tear drips down her cheek. Trickle, trickle, trickle.
Girl feels alone, alone, alone.
A tear drips down her cheek. Trickle, trickle, trickle.
Girl looks over her shoulder. “Grandma!”
Reaches out a hand.
Old woman grasps her hand.
The two of them read, read, read.
Chat, chat, chat.
Together, together, together.
There are so many things in this poem that just cannot be captured in English. Much of the poem is only the things in italics. The other words I had to add, because you cannot see the acting, the body posture--everything that tells so much information.

Some people believe that ASL is broken English, done manually. But it’s not at all. You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? It is so true in signs. In my opinion, there are times when sign language is richer, clearer, more expressive then English could ever be.

I’ll try to describe the second to last scene in this poem. The girl is alone, crying. She looks over her shoulder and sees the old woman.

I’m shifted to the left, look over my shoulder to the right, and reach my right hand upwards. I turn my head to the left, and reach my left hand down (for the grandmother’s part). Then both hands join for the sign “together”.


Jezreel said...

The yellow is MUCH better now, Amy... my eyes were burning the last time I looked at your colors... Ouch. :P

And of course I already told you on TheTwelves what I thought about your beautiful ASL poetry. :)

purple_kangaroo said...

How beautiful. I really love the poem about the grandmother and little girl. It is really superb.

Kaylee said...

Oh, I love the poem of the grandma and the girl! I could picture how you sign it.

Rebekah said...


grandmac said...