(at St. Mary’s)
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
From Quilting: Poems 1987–1990 by Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 2001 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions Ltd. All rights reserved.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.
At least she’s pretending to be,
in sisterly solidarity.
It’s not a joke, but the whole
world’s taking it badly. Meanwhile
I sit here pretending to be a flame
in a thrown bottle. I pretend
that curved horns grow out of my ears
when I hear of injustices. And
meanwhile like the faint cigar
lights of the darkened
lounges where world leaders
fraternize, the moon’s light glows
then fades. Her labor proves to be,
well, laborious. Mine was too,
although this poem burst forth
from my brain like a boot
or a god: furious.
Copyright © 2023 by Gail Wronsky. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 24, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
In Greek, amphibian means
“on both sides of life.”
As in: amphibians live
on land and in water.
As in: immigrants leave
lands and cross waters.
While amphibians lay
immigrants give birth
In water, gilled tadpoles
sprout limbs. On land
amphibians develop lungs.
Immigrants develop lungs.
Breathe in pine, fuel
and cold atmosphere.
and slumber deathly.
Their colors brighten.
They’ve been known to fall
out of the sky.
Completely at home
in the rain.
Copyright © 2014 by Joseph O. Legaspi. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.