“Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear” and grandmothers! #BlackHistoryMonth #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

We begin with grandmothers. Isn’t it something else when you think we came out of of our grandmothers- in a very physical way… Her body gave either our father or our mother. You are physically a part of her body. Of course not everybody has a loving relationship with their grandparents or even *has* grandparents they know. Some people become our grandparents because of the air you breathe together or the houses you shared or the streets.

Part of a poem Face by Jean Toomer, it is a sad poem but he wrote it with so much love for the grandmother… loving her face:

Face

Hair—
silver-gray
like streams of stars,
Brows—
recurved canoes
quivered by the ripples blown by pain,
Her eyes—
mist of tears
condensing on the flesh below
.

From: November Cotton Flower

Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.

.

All of the poem November Cotton Flower:

Boll-weevil’s coming, and the winter’s cold,
Made cotton-stalks look rusty, seasons old,
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow,
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake;
Drouth fighting soil had caused the soil to take
All water from the streams; dead birds were found
In wells a hundred feet below the ground—
Such was the season when the flower bloomed.
Old folks were startled, and it soon assumed
Significance. Superstition saw
Something it had never seen before:
Brown eyes that loved without a trace of fear,
Beauty so sudden for that time of year.
.

.

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

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“if i cud ever write a/poem as beautiful as u/little 2/yr/old/brotha…” Sonia Sanchez #ValentinesDay #BlackHistoryMonth

To P.J. (2 yrs old who sed write
a poem for me in Portland, Oregon)

if i cud ever write a
poem as beautiful as u
little 2/yr/old/brotha,
I wud laugh, jump, leap
up and touch the stars
cuz u be the poem i try for
each time i pick up a pen and paper.
u. and Morani and Mung
be our blue/blk/stars that
will shine on our lives and
makes us finally BE.
if i cud ever write a poem as beautiful
as u, little 2/yr/old/brotha,
poetry wud go out of bizness.

Sonia Sanchez

 

From: My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry (A Puffin Poetry Book)
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A mother’s yearning/love: “Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing…” Sylvia Plath #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Child by Sylvia Plath

Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new

Whose names you meditate —
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,
Little

Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical

Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.

.

.

From: Poems on the Underground. Illlustrated edition. Edited by Judith Chernaik, Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert.

 

No need to spell out love— poems: “Beyond the last horizon/We’ll see what there is to see…” #TweetHearts #Valentines

When you don’t have to spell out that you love.

North London Sonnet
for Lucinda

A boom-box boats by,
less music than sonic muscle
assaulting the night sky,
a pumped-up hustle-bustle

which manages to disturb
the twirly, needling alarm
of a car tucked into the kerb—
its mantra, or charm—

but that too, soon, quiets
and you sleep on, proof
against the rumpuses and riots
encircling our roof,

till my switching off the light
prompts a muffled Good Night

Christopher Reid

From: London a History in Verse, ed by Mark Ford.

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Canto IV

[…]
You know your glance bedecks the sailboats
In the rocking nights of the catch
You know your glance ties the knot of stars
And the knot of song that will come from this chest
Your glance carries the word to the heart
And the enchanted mouth of a nightingale

There’s no time to lose
At the hour of the body in the dubious shipwreck
I measure the infinite step by step

The sea waits to conquer
So there’s no time to lose
Then
.    Ah then

Beyond the last horizon
We’ll see what there is to see

[…]

Vicente Huidobro

From: Pinholes in the Night, essential poems for Latin America. Selected by Raul Zurita, edited by Forrest Gander.

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brothers, who will hold her, who will find her beautiful if you do not? Lucille Clifton. #OscarsSoWhite

song at midnight

brothers,
this big woman
carries much sweetness
in the folds of her flesh.
her hair
is white with wonderful.
she is
rounder than the moon
and far more faithful.
brothers,
who will hold her,
who will find her beautiful
if you do not?

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on the bridge between
starshine and clay,
my own hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton

.

From The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
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Child in the gardens. Vincent O’Sullivan

The Child in the Gardens

How sudden, this entering the fallen
gardens for the first time, to feel the blisters
of the world’s father, as his own hand
does. It is everything dying at once,
the slimed pond and the riffling of leaves,
shoes drenched across sapless stalks.
It is what you will read a thousand times.
You will come to think, who has not stood
there, holding that large hand, not said
Can’t we go back? I don’t like this place.
Your voice sounds like someone else’s. You
rub a sleeve against your cheek, you want
him to laugh, to say, ‘The early stars can’t hurt
us, they are further than trains we hear
on the clearest of nights.’ We are in a story
called Father, We Must Get Out.
Leaves scritch at the red walls,
a stone lady lies near the pond, eating
dirty grass. It is too sudden, this
walking into time for its first lesson,
its brown wind, its scummed nasty
paths. You know how lovely yellow
is your favourite colour, the kitchen at home.
You touch the big gates as you leave,
the trees stand on their bones, the shoulders
on the vandaled statue are huge cold
eggs. Nothing there wants to move.
You touch the gates and tell them, We
are not coming back to this place. Are we, Dad?

Vincent O’Sullivan

From: Nice Morning for It, Adam (Victoria University Press, 2004)
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More information about the poet:
http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/vincent-osullivan