Monday, June 27, 2011
In Praise of Lucille Clifton
To My Last Period
well girl, goodbye,
after thirty-eight years.
thirty-eight years and you
splendid in your red dress
without trouble for me
now it is done,
and i feel just like
the grandmothers who,
after the hussy has gone,
sit holding her photograph
and sighing, wasn't she
beautiful? wasn't she beautiful?
By Lucille Clifton
to my aunt blanche
who rolled from grass to driveway
into the street one sunday morning.
i was ten. i had never seen
a human woman hurl her basketball
of a body into the traffic of the world.
Praise to the drivers who stopped in time.
Praise to the faith with which she rose
after some moments then slowly walked
sighing back to her family.
Praise to the arms which understood
little or nothing of what it meant
but welcomed her in without judgment,
accepting it all like children might,
Today is Lucille Clifton's birthdate. Sadly, she died last February. She's one of my favorite poets and these poems are my favorite of hers.
Celebrate poetry every day,
"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it." ~Ernest Hemingway, interview in Paris Review, Spring 1958