Monday, June 27, 2011

In Praise of Lucille Clifton

To My Last Period
Lucille Clifton

well girl, goodbye,
after thirty-eight years.
thirty-eight years and you
never arrived
splendid in your red dress
without trouble for me
somewhere, somehow.
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?


Praise Song
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,
like God.


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


Kelly said...

It's been awhile since I've thought about Lucille Clifton and I do love her work. Thanks for sharing this today!

I should get out my collection and read some more of her poems.

Wine and Words said...

Great stuff! Makes me wonder so much about Grandma. I want more info :) And the loss of a period. Wierd how I will never have that mourning time when the period ceases. I killed her myself in 2008 and never looked back LOL! Don't miss her now, won't later. She won't be a sign that I have dried up and pruned, because I murdered her before she could do that damage!

Ben Ditty said...

Wonderful selection!

Serena said...

I love these poems! I'm going to have to read more of the late Ms. Clifton.

Have a terrific week, Princess Dragonfly.

quid said...

What a great old gal Lucille clifton was. I appreciated this little collection of her work today, ML.


Terresa said...

RIP Lucille. She's a favorite of mine.

William Cook said...

This is a most phenomenal site, found it through Ces. And this piece by Lucille Clifton, Praise Song. Tore me to shreds. Poor Aunti Blanche. Such indignity. Such a relief she made it back to the house. I'm your newest best fan. Thank you.

Marion said...

Welcome, William. I'm glad you're here. "Praise Song" tears my heart out every time I read it. I grew up with many crazy relatives, who, by all accounts, should have slit their wrists...but who, like Aunt Blanche, kept on truckin'. Thanks for the follow. Blessings!