poetry

Wind-Gwendolyn Brooks

The wind was a care-free soul 
    That broke the chains of earth, 
And strode for a moment across the land
    With the wild halloo of his mirth.
He little cared that he ripped up trees, 
    That houses fell at his hand, 
That his step broke calm on the breast of seas, 
    That his feet stirred clouds of sand. 

But when he had had his little joke, 
    Had shouted and laughed and sung, 
When the trees were scarred, their branches broke, 
    And their foliage aching hung, 
He crept to his cave with a stealthy tread, 
    With rain-filled eyes and low-bowed head

poetry

Tribute II

I am so blessed to be spending her 88th birthday with my maternal grandmother. My sole remaining grandparent and my lifelong entertainment.

Looking at you,

I still hear

Your mother, your daughter and sisters

I can recall summers

Spent at yard sales, full of junk food, laughter and love

Remember your trips to Jersey,

walking you to the corner stores

and introducing you to friends

Can still feel the sun while watching

tea steep on the front porch

As my nose filled with the scent of

Gardenia and Magnolia

These memories assail me every day

And I am grateful for every one.

poetry

Yesterday and To-morrow- Paul Laurence Dunbar

Yesterday I held your hand,
Reverently I pressed it,
And its gentle yieldingness
From my soul I blessed it.

But to-day I sit alone,
Sad and sore repining;
Must our gold forever know
Flames for the refining?

Yesterday I walked with you,
Could a day be sweeter?
Life was all a lyric song
Set to tricksy meter.

Ah, to-day is like a dirge,—
Place my arms around you,
Let me feel the same dear joy
As when first I found you.

Let me once retrace my steps,
From these roads unpleasant,
Let my heart and mind and soul
All ignore the present.

Yesterday the iron seared
And to-day means sorrow.
Pause, my soul, arise, arise,
Look where gleams the morrow.

poetry

Poem at 30- Sonia Sanchez

it is midnight
no magical bewitching
hour for me
I know only that
I am here waiting
remembering that
once as a child
I walked two
miles in my sleep.
did I know
then where I
was going?
travelling. I’m
always travelling.
I want to tell
you about me
about nights on a
brown couch when
I wrapped my
bones in lint and
refused to move
no one touches
me anymore.
father do not
send me out
among strangers.
you you black man
stretching scraping
the mold from your body
here is my hand
I am not afraid
of the night

poetry

Songs for the People-Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Let me make the songs for the people,
   Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
   Wherever they are sung.

Not for the clashing of sabres,
   For carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
   With more abundant life.

Let me make the songs for the weary,
   Amid life’s fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
   And careworn brows forget.

Let me sing for little children,
   Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of love and duty,
   To float o’er life’s highway.

I would sing for the poor and aged,
   When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
   Where there shall be no night.

Our world, so worn and weary,
   Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
   Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.

Music to soothe all its sorrow,
   Till war and crime shall cease; 
And the hearts of men grown tender
   Girdle the world with peace.

poetry

Good Trouble

This piece originally appeared on the blog in February 2018. Given the national treasure whom we’ve just lost, I felt it was only right that I repost it. Rest well Mr. Lewis and thank you.

For some, 

The price paid for

Freedom 

Was blood, sweat and family.

It was water hoses, German shepherd attacks, lynchings, beatings and bombs.

Burned crosses, denial of rights, spit, nighsticks, and below human standards.

Between Reconstruction and Jim Crow 

Liberation was like 

The soil of Africa

Burning inside but too far away to grasp.

For The American Negro

Liberty wasn’t represented by a statue 

It demanded dedication, bodies mutilated, burned and buried in earthen dams or rivers

You couldn’t cry freedom

And expect it to hurry to your side.

You couldn’t get it without Harriet, Anna, Ida, and Angela

Or Marcus, W.E.B, Medgar and Malcolm.

Good trouble paved the way for the freedoms we take for granted today. 

poetry

Glory- Gbenga Adesina

Glory of plums, femur of Glory.
Glory of ferns
on a dark platter.

Glory of willows, Glory of Stag beetles
Glory of the long obedience
of the kingfisher.

Glory of waterbirds, Glory
of thirst. 

Glory of the Latin
of the dead and their grammar
composed entirely of decay. 

Glory of the eyes of my father
which, when he died, closed
inside his grave,

and opened even more brightly
inside me.

Glory of dark horses
running furiously
inside their own

dark horses.