And Still I Rise
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These new poems are powerful, distinctive and as always, full of lifting rhythms of love and remembering.
Monkey Reel The Lesson California Prodigal My Arkansas Through the Inner City to the Suburbs Lady Luncheon Club Momma Welfare Roll The Singer Will Not Sing Willie To Beat the Child Was Bad Enough Woman Work One More Round The Traveler Kin The Memory PART THREE And Still I Rise Still I Rise Ain’t That Bad? Life Doesn’t Frighten Me Bump d’Bump On Aging In Retrospect Just Like Job Call Letters: Mrs. V.B. Thank You, Lord About the Author A Note to the Reader About
I’ve got the children to tend The clothes to mend The floor to mop The food to shop Then the chicken to fry The baby to dry I got company to feed The garden to weed I’ve got the shirts to press The tots to dress The cane to be cut I gotta clean up this hut Then see about the sick And the cotton to pick. Shine on me, sunshine Rain on me, rain Fall softly, dewdrops And cool my brow again. Storm, blow me from here With your fiercest wind Let me float across the sky ’Til I
In low voices Shielding meaning from the big ears Of over-curious adults. You may be right. Your slow return from Regions of terror and bloody Screams, races my heart. I hear again the laughter Of children and see fireflies Bursting tiny explosion in An Arkansas twilight. The Memory Cotton rows crisscross the world And dead-tired nights of yearning Thunderbolts on leather strops And all my body burning Sugar cane reach up to God And every baby crying Shame the blanket
And drinkin’ gin in sips. Puttin’ down that do-rag Tightenin’ up my ’fro Wrappin’ up in Blackness Don’t I shine and glow? Hearin’ Stevie Wonder Cookin’ beans and rice Goin’ to the opera Checkin’ out Leontyne Price. Get down, Jesse Jackson Dance on, Alvin Ailey Talk, Miss Barbara Jordan Groove, Miss Pearlie Bailey. Now ain’t they bad? An’ ain’t they Black? An’ ain’t they Black? An’ ain’t they Bad? An’ ain’t they bad? An’ ain’t they Black? An’ ain’t they fine? Black
to lean on Your arm And I’m leaning You said to trust in Your love And I’m trusting You said to call on Your name And I’m calling I’m stepping out on Your word. You said You’d be my protection, My only and glorious saviour My beautiful Rose of Sharon, And I’m stepping out on Your word. Joy, joy Your word. Joy, joy The wonderful word of the Son of God. You said that You would take me to glory To sit down at the welcome table Rejoice with my mother in heaven And I’m stepping