“How the animals broke through the sky.” Indigenous Winter Solstice poem! As told by Angela Sidney.

moon solstice

Beautiful Indigenous Winter Solstice Poem!!!

“How the animals broke through the sky.”

Our Winter Solstice Bonfire on Cherry Beach is on Native grounds. 
This is a Winter Solstice story and poem as told by Angela Sidney.

How the animals broke through the sky.

One time the sky used to come right down to saltwater
Here the animals lived on the Winterside it was cold.
Squirrel always came amongst other animals crying all the time

One time they asked her,
“what are you crying for?”

“My kids all froze up again.”
Every now and then her children her babies all froze up.

So they went to a meeting, all the animals, they are going to try to poke a hole through the sky.
They are on the Winterside and they are going to poke a hole through the sky so they can have summertime too.
Summer is on the other side.

Wheel_of_fire_by_MattTheSamurai

So they gathered together with all kinds of people —they are animals though —
Blood sucker is the one they picked to go through that hole.
He poked that hole and then different animals went through that hole.
Wolverine is the one who made that hole bigger —
he went through pulling a dry moose skin — made that hole bigger.
That’s how they all got through.

Now they are going to steal good weather.
they went to a high person — he’s got all the weather —the hot air,
cold air
He’s got flowers and leaves.
So they took all that — they stole it when people weren’t home.

But there was one old man there.
He went outside— took his blanket outside and waved it around his head

Get winter time over there and summer over here.
“Don’t go away for good,” he told them.
He kept them from taking summer completely away.

That’s how, when winter goes for good that’s the time we get summer.
Then when summer goes back to the south side, that’s the time we get winter.

He waved his blanket and said,
“Don’t go away for good,” he told the weather.
“Go back-and-forth.”

Those two worlds were side by side —winter on one side, summer on the other.
On one side were winter animals — on the other, summer animals.
They broke the sky down, and after, it went up

After they got it across, they bust it — the summer bag.
Pretty soon, snow melted —they got leaves.
They had all the leaves tied up in a balloon.
Then they bust the balloon and all the summer things came out.

As told by Angela Sidney in “Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders.”
By Julie Cruikshank, p. 49.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444 or at http://www.indiebound.org
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

‪#‎IndigenousLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎WinterSolstice‬ ‪#‎WinterSolsticebonfire‬ ‪#‎AmINext‬

Two short Winter Solstice poems by Chappuis and Gezelle!

goats-on-hill-snow-in-tree.jpg

vivianacres.wordpress.com 

Some simple poems about change now that we are getting closer to the longest night and the shortest day. The moon changes our mood, so does thinking about the past year, hopes for the next… Tomorrow we’re going to build a bonfire and set alight a wooden Circle of life. I have plants and herbs gathered for different scents. There will be a few children. Maybe we’re going to read stories, tell stories. We have an Indigenous Healer with us, White Wolf, who will call on the directions and we’ll thank our ancestors and the grounds we stand on, the lake, the beach, the woods. Make new connections, strengthen old ones. Anyway. The poems.

Snow dust

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
On a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood…

Pierre Chappuis

Winter Solstice, Zonnewende

The sun sweeps up
the sun dives down
The sun goes up
and under
The life of a mensch is similar
to the life of the sun,
who goes up and down and all around
and
who walks all those days —
the road her indicated.

Guido Gezelle (Famous fabulous Belgian poet)
Dutch:
de zonne gaat op
de zonne gaat neer,
de zonne gaat op
en onder
Het leven van den mensch is als
Het leven van de zon,
Die op- en af- en ommegaat
En wandelt alle dagen
Den weg, die haar gewezen is.
Guido Gezelle

“Transient Sex” by Brent Reiten. Poet lost and found!

UPDATE January 5. BUY book here: http://www.sfelectricworks.com/newsletter/newsletter-15.01.02.transient-sex.html. Contact: judith(at)sfelectricworks.com
From an email by Jason Tesauro:
• A Dutch publisher has been in touch and is going to publish a translation in the Netherlands. (Brent’s response, “holy shit, that’s my favorite country.”)
• Brent’s Transient Sex muse and lover, Toni Bernbaum, left a comment at poetryfoundation.com: “So, Jason. This is her.” (It’s worth reading the rest.)
• Requests for books from around the world continue to pour in.
• They have contacted NPR, This American Life and the Moth.

Am trying to get this volume! Excited!

SEE ABOVE CHANGE of point of sale. Update: Poet is private. Email his contact journalist Jason Tesauro to get a copy into your hands. A couple hundred books still in circulation: $25 (but global drawing attention so might be going relatively fast). jt@themoderngentleman.com

Update 2: Ordered book. More poems soon.

Some quotes through Jason Tesauro http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/249708#article

—“Sex With J.C. Knight”

“But when I got there he said, I just play
the piano and eat MDMA four times a day.
But I’ve been tapping into Indian spirits
who knew the earth before she hurt.”

—“Sex With Genevieve Bujold”

It was a dimestore revelation:
Tell her you’re a poet,
not a housepainter
[…]

— from another poem

“She was off to be a star again.
I was off to paint the Wagner’s house

Monterey gray with dark blue trim.”

Caribou. Indigenous Winter Poem. Winter Solstice story telling! — complete now!

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Photo credit: unknown.

When lake froze in winter,
When Caribou came,
It was just like horses, same.
You could hear their feet making noise,
Making noise [imitates hoofs on ice].
Lots of caribou covered up these hills.

I want to talk about this story,
old people tell this story.

One time, caribou took people
That man had a little bit of doctor, I guess;
Well, caribou took him.

Everybody felt bad: he was gone.
His wife was left alone.

Right in the middle of the lake, they heard caribou singing his song.
People don’t know what to do —
They tried to get him.

One man said, “Well,let’s go. We’re going to try.”
Yeah!

NGS Picture ID:696517
Photo: Paul Nicklen. National Geographic.

They’ve got bow and arrow, that’s all — they have no gun yet.
It was a long time ago, I guess.
They heard that man’s song.
I think it was wintertime.
Wintertime.

That caribou just lay down in the middle of that ice.

All the time he stayed in the middle.
For a long time, they watched him.
Whenever they tried to come to that caribou, all the time he watched them.
He looked from person to person.
And all the time he didn’t sleep.

One man told them he was going to do it.
Then he sneaked in. [She shows how he wrestled with the caribou and held it down.]

The caribou spoke:
‘You smell,” he told people.

Well that man knew how to talk to caribou.
“What about your kids,” they asked him.
“Your kids are crying for you,” his own brother told him.
“What’s wrong with you?”

He couldn’t help it.
So they brought him. They brought him home.
They took him home!
I guess his wife is glad: he’s got kids too!
His wife came, and his kids.
He held his kids’ hands, but for his wife, nothing.
He doesn’t know her yet.

Well, they took him back.
They told him.
Then they watched him.
They made a camp for it [away from the human camp].

Somebody watched him there.
He wanted to go!
He doesn’t eat their food — he eats only willows.
You know what that means!
But they kept him the other side of the fire.

Then he came back to person.
But he can’t hunt caribou anymore.

This was way before my time, but I saw lots of caribou.
they came back, caribou.
All this mountain was covered by caribou.
Used to be we had caribou not too long ago when my kids were growing up.

One time lots of caribou fell through the ice, one lake.
I called my husband back to get the meat.
My mother-in-law came to get the skins.
She got enough that time: she had her son with her.
They are hard to clean when they fall in that way
That’s the last time that caribou came this way.
That’s the last time we saw caribou come.

But they didn’t come back. How come?
That man came back to person.
Then he knew where moose are, where caribou are.
He tells them, but he can’t hunt them.

That’s the last time caribou came this way.
Since then nothing.

After Skookum Jim found gold everything changed.
White people came to this country.
White people learned everything from Indians.
Now they want the whole thing, the land!
I’ve got 64 grandchildren in this Yukon.
I worry about them, what’s going to happen?
White people, where’s their grandpa? Their grandma?
Indians should have their own land
To be continued

From: Life Lived Like a Story
Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders
Julie Cruikshank. UBC Press.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

 

Canadian geographic
Photo: Canadian National Geographic.

caribou_kusawa
Photo: Milo Burcham

The international Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers!

REv-Sweat-russian-doll_1150-2

Lovely poetry by or about sex workers! The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is upon us! Yay!

By Su Xiaoxiao: a famous Chinese courtesan and poet, so beautiful poems were written about her for over 1500 years! Courtesans were trained as singers, dancers and poets in China. Haven’t found sex positive poems by english speakers yet.

Song of the Same Heartbeat:

I ride in a decorated carriage,
My darling rides a blue-white horse.
Where should we tie the knot for our heart?
Under the pine and cypress trees of Xiling.
.
By the later courtesan Liu Xiaoqing.
.
The carriage rumbles through the fragrent herbs of Xiling,
A message arrived from the inner quarters, inviting me to an outing.
I shed a cup of wine by myself on Su Xiaoxiao’s tomb,
Do you know that I am the one with the same feelings as you?
.
.
By Basho
.
Under the same roof
play girls were sleeping
bush clover and the moon
.
— His heart is touched by the soft light and the companionship. The Japanese had a number of names for sex workers. In this Haiku both intimacy and distance.
.
.
By Shiki
.
Lighting the lamps,
One shadow is for each
of the dolls
.
— The sex workers have each other, live in a house together and there is someone who cares for them and lights the lamps. One shadow means that they are each a person. He knows them, even if he can only see them when he takes care of them, even if they are too precious and high status for him to personally know.

Dolls had great status and import. Dolls were crafted for “household shrines, for formal gift-giving, or for festival celebrations such as Hinamatsuri, the doll festival.” Pilgrims would buy them as a memory of a temple visit or a journey.

 

Black poet Claude McKay writes about sex workers in Harlem, part of the poem shows McKay’s empathy.
You can read it as a wish to make life safer and better for sex workers doing their work.

I hear the halting footsteps of a lass
In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
To bend and barter at desire’s call.
Ah, little dark girls who in slippered feet
Go prowling through the night from street to street!

Through the long night until the silver break
Of day the little gray feet know no rest;
Through the lone night until the last snowflake
Has dropped from heaven upon the earth’s white breast,
The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.

[…]
Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
In Harlem wandering from street to street.

Yusef Komunyakaa and God.

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Photo: True Groove Records

Interesting spiritual lines, (more beautiful in the poem, so read it all). Yusef Komunyakaa’s first book was the christian bible, and he was a black muslim for some time. The cadence of the bible drew him closer to the texture of language. Komunyakaa is the last name of one of his grandfathers before becoming enslaved and given the name of his owner.

Komunyakaa considered desertion due to his opposition of the Vietnam war; however, he remained in the service in order to “bear witness.”

“Someone could stand here
contemplating the future, leafing
through torn pages of St. Augustine
or the prophecies by fishermen,…

& till the church-steeple birds
fly sweet darkness home.
Whoever this friend or lover is,
he intones redemptive harmonies.

To lie down in remembrance
is to know each of us is a prodigal
son or daughter, looking out beyond land
& sky,

the mind comes back to rest,
stretching out over the white sand.”

 

ISLANDS
For Derek Walcott
An island is one great eye
gazing out, a beckoning lighthouse,
searchlight, a wishbone compass,
or counterweight to the stars.
When it comes to outlook & point
of view, a figure stands on a rocky ledge
peering out toward an archipelago
of glass on the mainland, a seagull’s
wings touching the tip of a high wave,
out to where the brain may stumble.But when a mind climbs down
from its high craggy lookout
we know it is truly a stubborn thing,
& has to leaf through pages of dust
& light, through pre-memory & folklore,
remembering fires roared down there
till they pushed up through the seafloor
& plumes of ash covered the dead
shaken awake worlds away, & silence
filled up with centuries of waiting.

Sea urchin, turtle, & crab
came with earthly know-how,
& one bird arrived with a sprig in its beak,
before everything clouded with cries,
a millennium of small deaths now topsoil
& seasons of blossoms in a single seed.
Light edged along salt-crusted stones,
across a cataract of blue water,
& lost sailors’ parrots spoke of sirens,
the last words of men buried at sea.

Someone could stand here
contemplating the future, leafing
through torn pages of St. Augustine
or the prophecies by fishermen,
translating spore & folly down to taproot.
The dreamy-eyed boy still in the man,
the girl in the woman, a sunny forecast
behind today, but tomorrow’s beyond
words. To behold a body of water
is to know pig iron & mother wit.

Whoever this figure is,
he will soon return to dancing
through the aroma of dagger’s log,
ginger lily, & bougainvillea,
between chants & strings struck
till gourds rally the healing air,
& till the church-steeple birds
fly sweet darkness home.
Whoever this friend or lover is,
he intones redemptive harmonies.

To lie down in remembrance
is to know each of us is a prodigal
son or daughter, looking out beyond land
& sky, the chemical & metaphysical
beyond falling & turning waterwheels
in the colossal brain of damnable gods,
a Eureka held up to the sun’s blinding eye,
born to gaze into fire. After conquering
frontiers, the mind comes back to rest,
stretching out over the white sand.

The African Burial Ground

They came as Congo, Guinea, & Angola,
feet tuned to rhythms of a thumb piano.
They came to work fields of barley & flax,

livestock, stone & slab, brick & mortar,
to make wooden barrels, some going
from slave to servant & half-freeman.

They built tongue & groove— wedged
into their place in New Amsterdam.
Decades of seasons changed the city

from Dutch to York, & dream-footed
hard work rattled their bones.
They danced Ashanti. They lived

& died. Shrouded in cloth, in cedar
& pine coffins, Trinity Church
owned them in six & a half acres

of sloping soil. Before speculators
arrived grass & weeds overtook
what was most easily forgotten,

& tannery shops drained there.
Did descendants & newcomers
shoulder rock & heave loose gravel

into the landfill before building crews
came, their guitars & harmonicas
chasing away ghosts at lunch break?

Soon, footsteps of lower Manhattan
strutted overhead, back & forth
between old denials & new arrivals,

going from major to minor pieties,
always on the go. The click of heels
the tap of a drum awaking the dead.

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

jersey_orchard_jm

Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920.

15. The Cow in Apple Time

SOMETHING inspires the only cow of late
To make no more of a wall than an open gate,
And think no more of wall-builders than fools.
Her face is flecked with pomace and she drools
A cider syrup. Having tasted fruit, 5
She scores a pasture withering to the root.
She runs from tree to tree where lie and sweeten
The windfalls spiked with stubble and worm-eaten.
She leaves them bitten when she has to fly.
[…]

Velden

On peaceful fields‘(1950) by Andrei Mylnikov,  State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

14. A Time to Talk

WHEN a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

 

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
[…]

Swiss-Italian poetry by Alberto Nessi and Giorgio Orelli. Cat and pouring rains!

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Photo: Lambert Wolterbeek Muller, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Italian poetry by Alberto Nessi and Giorgio Orelli. Peta italiano

Two poems for the cat by Alberto Nessi.

The Disappearance

Little is left from her life: the the wall boards
scratched by her claws, her ghost that visits us
every night when we think we spot her in the geraniums, the stories
of her adventures among the cacti
pirouetting, pouncing, dancing with the flies
the rivalry with the other cats we’d shoo away
as if she was of a higher feline race
and not a just a gentle moggie. Only traces and ghosts
of life remain
A cat like her
someone has poisoned her on purpose
or some peasant skinned and ate her —
but what if she ran away from home, a young girl looking for love
and what if we saw her again tomorrow, standing still
in the middle of the patio
protecting our equally precarious lives?

[…cat returns…]

“due poesie per la gatta La scomparsa della sua vita è rimasto poco: il pannello di pavatex graffiato dalle…”

In autumn by Giorgio Orelli.

Catlike in the salamander’s
slimy yellow
between the hedge and the tarmac: I didn’t even
see the face of the boy who
almost ran over me at the bend with his bike.
The rain was hosing down sideways
so much that it darkened the mood of the cows
near the high school:
in groups, dazed,
they forsook the grass,
and lowed miserably at the sky.

(Outlines, 1989)

D’autunno

Felinamente in giallo
viscido di salamandra
tra siepe e asfalto: neanche la faccia
gli ho visto al ragazzo che in bici
quasi m’investe allo svolto.
Tanto fitto pioveva e di traverso
che alle vacche vicino al liceo
l’anima s’annegrava:
in gruppo, stralunate,
disprezzavano l’erba,
mute muggivano al cielo.

(Spiracoli, 1989)

“Poetry Editor’s note: Contrappasso bids a sad farewell to Giorgio Orelli, who passed away […] at the age of 92. Below are the five poems of Orelli’s that appeared in Issue 3, translated by Marco Sonzogni.”

You created the night, I created the lamp. Iqbal!

Mount-Everest-2
www.pakistantoday.com.pk

You created the night, I created the lamp
You created clay and I made the pottery
You created the deserts, the mountains and jungles
And I produced the rice fields, the gardens and the orchards
It was I who turned rock into mirrors
And poison into cures

Iqbal

“…one blue-colored cloak, I had considered to be the sky”

Iqbal

Iqbal was born in 1877 in what is now Pakistan: the Punjab Province of British India. From a Brahmin family converted to Islam, he studied in Cambridge, became a lawyer, did his phd in Germany and wrote poetry in Persian and Urdu. He was a favourite of the Iranian revolution in 1979 and stood at the birth of the nation of Pakistan.

Sadjat Buat Adik- poem for my little brother, by Rivai Apin

Poem for my little brother
 .
Ever shorter the day
Fingers unbendable chilled by the evening
Fingers exhausted by searching for form
 .
There is always
The singing of a dream dreamt, one you will hear at last
You should
Let the light at dusk meet the light of day
and carefully attend to that
 .
Tomorrow is another day
And it will keep getting shorter

 

This modernist poet died in poverty and obscurity in 1995 in Jakarta. Political prisoner.

Political prisoner on Buru island with Indonesian writers, journalists, playwrights and poets. Tens of thousands of left-leaning and progressive Indonesians for periods up to 14 years.

Apin was one of the very few who managed to write something during his imprisonment. Memoirs: Jiku Kecil (19971-1973) about his unit and a couple of poems (1974-1979).

Many died in these prison camps. I don’t know enough to say whether they can be more closely described as how we understand concentration camps. Some combination of death, hunger, humiliation, reform and punishment.

 

Dutch translated by Linde Voûte
Gedicht voor mijn broertje

Steeds korter de dag
Vingers onbuigzaam verkild door de avond
Vingers vermoeid door het vinden van vorm
 .
Er is altijd nog
Het zingen van voorbije droom dat je eens zult horen
Je zou
Schemerlicht de dag moeten laten ontmoeten
en oplettend toezien
 .
Morgen is er weer een dag
Maar hij wordt steeds korter
 .
Uit: Ik wil nog duizend jaar leven. Negen moderne Indonesische dichters. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam,1979. Poetry International Serie. Put together by Harry Aveling.
.
BUY:
ONE book left in the Netherlands, antique and with nice prints: http://www.bol.com/nl/p/ik-wil-nog-duizend-jaar-leven/1001004005110174/
.
 .

More moons haiku. Winter Solstice moon. Spring moon.

I shift my pillow
closer to the
full moon.

Saiba 1858 (Tr. Hoffmann)

Winter seclusion;
listening, that evening,
to rain in the mountains

Moon, plum blossoms,
this, that,
and the day goes.

Issa

Sitting all alone
facing a still white paper:
behind me the moon

An evening guest—
the girl flings open a window
in comes the moon

The clouds hide the moon—
nursing her twins a mother
in the thick darkness.

Vasile Moldovan

Celebration time: black poets!!

All day Poetry by Black or African poets. Celebration time.

1.
When God
created
the black child
He was
showing off.

“Black Cryptogram” for Sterling A. Brown by Michael S. Harper
.
.

2 . Tall as a Cypress (abr).

I am a black woman
tall as a cypress
strong
beyond all definition still
defying place
and time
and circumstance
assailed
impervious
indestructible
Look
on me and be
renewed

Mari Evans
.
.

3. Poem about my Rights (abr)

alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
alone
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this
[…]
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this
but I can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self-determination
may very well cost you your life

June Jordan. “Poem about my rights”

Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn B. Bennett and Gladys May Casely Hayford: poems for #BlackOutFriday

‪#‎BlackOutFriday‬ poems.

Dream variation

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While dark night comes on gently,
…Dark like me,—
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! whirl! whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. …
A talk, slim tree. …
Night coming tenderly
… Black like me.

Langston Hughes.

1955536

Photo: New York public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Hatred

I shall hate you
Like a dart of singing steel
Shot through still air
At even-tide,
Or solemnly
As pines are sober
When they stand etched
Against the sky.
Hating you shall be a game
Played with cool hands
And slim fingers.
Your heart will yearn
For the lonely splendor
Of the pine tree
While rekindled fires
In my eyes
Shall wound you like swift arrows.
Memory will lay its hands
Upon your breast
And you will understand
My hatred.

Gwendolyn B. Bennett

 

laluah

Baby Cobina

Brown Baby Cobina, with his large black velvet eyes,
His little coos of ecstacies, his gurgling of surprise,
With brass bells on his ankles, that laugh where’er he goes,
It’s so rare for bells to tinkle, above brown dimpled toes.

Brown Baby Cobina is so precious that we fear
Something might come and steal him, when we grown-ups are not near;
So we tied bells on his ankles, and kissed on them this charm —
” Bells, guard our Baby Cobina from all devils and all harm. ”

Gladys May Casely Hayford (Aquah LaLuah)

From: “Caroling Dusk: an Anthology of Verse by Black Poets.” Edited by Countee Cullen.

NEW and USED: Abebooks.com Caroling Dusk
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: Caroling Dusk

Other reading:

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

KOKUMỌ: Lucille Clifton. Grandsons!!

CLIFTON_resized

KOKUMỌ

Photographs, my grandsons spinning in their joy.

universe
keep them turning —turning
black blurs against the window
of the world
for they are beautiful
and there is trouble coming
round and round and round

Lucille Clifton
In: the Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
Ed. Arnold Rampersad; Associate Ed. Hilary Herbold.

 

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