harriet by Lucille Clifton. (Harriet Tubman)

harriet
if i be you
let me not forget
to be the pistol
pointed
to be the madwoman
at the rivers edge
warning
be free or die
and isabell
if i be you
let me in my
sojourning
not forget
to ask my brothers
ain’t i a woman too
and
grandmother
if i be you
let me not forget
to work hard
trust the Gods
love my children and
wait.

.

Lucille Clifton .
.
Isabella Baumfree was the slave name of free woman Sojourner Truth. More thoughts about the poem here.

.

Connotations to “wait”: psalms, patience, Walt Witman’s Song of Myself that ends with “wait” and that Clifton refers to elsewhere and white people telling black folks to “go slow” and wait for more civil rights as sung in Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone.
.

“… You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

.

Walt Whitman.

.
.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

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