Poetry Explorer

Search Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Search Results

Back to search

Searching...
Author: NELSON, MARILYN
Matches Found: 205


Nelson, Marilyn    Poet's Biography
Alternate Author Name(s): Waniek, Marilyn Nelson
205 poems available by this author


A CANTICLE FOR ABBA JACOB    Poem Text    
First Line: How beautiful you are, my love
Subject(s): Literary Form


A CHARMED LIFE    Poem Text    
First Line: Here breathes a solitary pilgrim sustained by dew
Subject(s): Gratitude


ABBA JACOB AND MIRACLES       
First Line: One day abba jacob
Last Line: We're here %aren't we


ABBA JACOB AND ST. FRANCIS    Poem Text    
First Line: Abba jacob with his invention
Subject(s): Nature


ABBA JACOB AND ST. FRANCIS       
First Line: Abba jacob with his invention
Last Line: Well, at least I don't call them %brother %and then kill them. %but I do %ask god's pardon
Subject(s): Nature


ABBA JACOB AND THE ANGEL       
First Line: In the end abba jacob gave up
Last Line: And put her arm around his neck. %then he heard the music


ABBA JACOB AND THE BUSINESSMAN       
First Line: A businessman heard about abba jacob
Last Line: I heard he %was holy


ABBA JACOB AND THE THEOLOGIAN       
First Line: Thanking him for spending
Last Line: Not seriously, of course


ABBA JACOB AT BAT    Poem Text    
First Line: A young visitor [or, secular] / wearing an angels cap
Subject(s): Jews; Judaism


ABBA JACOB AT BAT       
First Line: A young visitor [or, secular] %wearing an angels cap
Last Line: He said: because they remind us %to live
Subject(s): Jews


ABBA JACOB GETS DOWN       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %there was once a desert father
Last Line: I'm sitting %on three bishops


ABBA JACOB IN THE WELL    Poem Text    
First Line: Bakar, atul, and clancy lower a bucket
Last Line: The ladder cuts through the slanting light / and disappears
Subject(s): Wells


ABBA JACOB IN THE WELL       
First Line: Bakar, atul, and clancy lower a bucket
Last Line: The ladder cuts through slanting light %and disappears


ABBA JACOB'S SEVEN DEVILS       
First Line: Another miracle
Last Line: All night the dogs howl


ACHES AND PAINS    Poem Text    
First Line: Abba jacob said: / the older I get, the more clearly I believe
Last Line: Like manna. Like respite. Like rain
Subject(s): Old Age


ACHES AND PAINS       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %the older I get, the more clearly I believe
Last Line: Like manna. Like respite. Like rain


ALDERMAN    Poem Text    
First Line: One year the town republicans
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


ALDERMAN       
First Line: One year the town republicans
Last Line: You need to learn your place. And pomp withdrew %because the klan was wrong: by god, he knew
Subject(s): Family Life


ANNUNCIATION    Poem Text    
First Line: Like holes punched in a tin roof, thinks diverne
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


ANNUNCIATION       
First Line: Like holes punched in a tin roof, thinks diverne
Last Line: For someone dead. Like abraham, that night %she saw her children: lord, they daddy white?
Subject(s): Family Life


APE-GODS       
First Line: Vivisection is up to date
Last Line: In these ape-gods' power


APRIL RAPE       
First Line: Bessie altmann is home again
Last Line: She is glad to be home again


ARACHIS HYPOGAEA       
First Line: Arachis hypogaea may have been %smuggled to north america by slaves
Last Line: The peanut-man,' we say and laugh at him


ARMED MEN    Poem Text    
First Line: Ray teaches at the boley baptist school
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


ARMED MEN       
First Line: Ray teaches at the boley baptist school
Last Line: To let them go out and run %through the twilit streets of boley, %where each window holds a loaded g
Subject(s): Family Life


AS SIMPLE AS THAT       
First Line: Talk about bosnia led to the hutu and tusi, two
Last Line: Love holds me back


AT PRAYER       
First Line: Abba jacob closes the prayer book
Last Line: Around his white skirts


AUNT ANNIE'S PRAYER    Poem Text    
First Line: Her magnified voice reverberates
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


AUNT ANNIE'S PRAYER       
First Line: Her magnified voice reverberates
Last Line: Praise god. %thank you, jesus. %amen. %amen
Subject(s): Family Life


BALANCE    Poem Text    
First Line: He watch her like a coonhound watch a tree.
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Relatives


BALANCE       
First Line: He watch her like a coonhound watch a tree.
Last Line: That hoe diverne think she marse tyler's wife.
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form


BALI HAI CALLS MAMA    Poem Text    
First Line: As I was putting away the groceries
Subject(s): Mothers; Babies; Family Life; Infants; Relatives


BALI HAI CALLS MAMA       
First Line: As I was putting away the groceries
Last Line: Suddenly through the window %came the wild cry of geese


BALLAD OF AUNT GENEVA       
First Line: Geneva was the wild one
Last Line: And gave away her heart
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Racism


BEAUTY SHOPPE    Poem Text    
First Line: Yes, girl. He was fine. All night he'd groan I love you
Last Line: He's not worth it. Girl, that nigger broke my heart
Subject(s): African Americans; Love Unrequited; Deception; Grief


BEAUTY SHOPPE       
First Line: Yes, girl, he was fine. All night he'd groan I love you
Last Line: He's not worth it. Girl, that nigger broke my heart


BLACK PIONEERS    Poem Text    
First Line: There, we'll put the chickens
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


BLACK PIONEERS       
First Line: There, we'll put the chickens
Last Line: And buy you a fine cook-stove. %but, baby, first, let's try the bed... %(censored: they're making lo
Subject(s): Family Life


BLESSING THE BOATS       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %did I ever tell you about the time
Last Line: They're probably still %talking about it


BOYS IN THE PARK       
First Line: In town to do good works, filled with our own
Last Line: They were boys, just boys, nine or ten years old


CACHOEIRA    Poem Text    
First Line: We slept, woke, breakfasted, and met the man
Subject(s): Cachoeira, Brazil; Tourists; Slavery; Convents; Serfs


CAFETERIA FOOD    Poem Text    
First Line: Even when you've been living on
Subject(s): Food & Eating


CAFETERIA FOOD       
First Line: Even when you've been living on
Last Line: Even when it's good, %it's bad
Subject(s): Food And Eating


CANTICLE FOR ABBA JACOB       
First Line: How beautiful you are, my love
Last Line: Touch him for me, my lord. %my love! Thy kiss
Subject(s): Literary Form


CENTURY QUILT       
First Line: My sister and I were in love


CHOPIN    Poem Text    
First Line: It's sunday evening. Pomp holds the receipts
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Relatives


CHOPIN       
First Line: It's sunday evening. Pomp holds the receipts
Last Line: And plays chopin. And blessed are the meek %who have to buy in white men's stores next week
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form


CHOSEN    Poem Text    
First Line: Diverne wanted to die, that august night
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Relatives


CHOSEN       
First Line: Diverne wanted to die, that august night
Last Line: Share of the future. And it wasn't rape. %in spite of her raw terror. And his whip
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form


CHURCHGOING    Poem Text    
First Line: The lutherans sit stolidly in rows;
Subject(s): Christianity; Slavery; Hypocrisy; Serfs


CHURCHGOING       
First Line: The lutherans sit stolidly in rows
Last Line: Finding the black way back to what we've lost


CIRCUS OF HUNGER       
First Line: My dad was working the river again
Last Line: I breathed the strange odor %of a world of real dreams


CLOWN NOSE       
First Line: After their afternoon walk to the sheepfold
Last Line: Brushed off his white skirt


COAL    Poem Text    
First Line: He made a living selling land and coal
Last Line: He made a living
Subject(s): Family Life; Business; Fathers; Relatives


COAL       
First Line: He made a living selling land and coal
Last Line: His signature is firm, decisive, bold: %he made a living
Subject(s): Family Life


CONFESSIONAL POEM       
First Line: This friend of mine


COVER PHOTOGRAPH       
First Line: I want to be remembered


CURVE-BREAKER       
First Line: What broke the ice?
Last Line: We were calling him 'doc.'


DANGEROUS CARNIVAL       
First Line: One of the signs of a concussion


DAUGHTERS, 1900    Poem Text    
First Line: Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Relatives


DAUGHTERS, 1900       
First Line: Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch
Last Line: The fourth concedes, 'well, maybe not in church...' %five daughters in the slant light on the porch
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form


DEATH OF POLYXENA       
First Line: I am not to die
Last Line: On the swan-curve of her throat


DINOSAUR SPRING    Poem Text    
First Line: A violet wash is streaked across the clouds
Subject(s): Dinosaurs


DINOSAUR SPRING       
First Line: A violet wash is streaked across the clouds
Last Line: At the bottom of the sea
Subject(s): Dinosaurs


DIVERNE'S HOUSE    Poem Text    
First Line: The house of myth
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


DIVERNE'S HOUSE       
First Line: The house of myth
Subject(s): Family Life


DIVERNE'S WALTZ    Poem Text    
First Line: Diverne stands in the kitchen as they dance
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Relatives


DIVERNE'S WALTZ       
First Line: Diverne stands in the kitchen as they dance
Last Line: Who knows? Next week, next month, I could be dead
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form


DON'T THROW OUT WINE BOTTLES       
First Line: Abba jacob said: when I was in grad school, I house-sat
Last Line: Maybe it had some deep %esoteric meaning


DREAM'S WISDOM       
First Line: I dreamed
Last Line: Help me greet everyone I know %with the dream's %wisdom


DUSTING    Poem Text    
First Line: Thank you for these tiny
Subject(s): Nature


DUSTING       
First Line: Thank you for these tiny
Last Line: Thank you. For dust
Subject(s): Nature


EMILY DICKINSON'S DEFUNCT    Poem Text    
First Line: She used to / pack poems
Subject(s): Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)


EMILY DICKINSON'S DEFUNCT       
First Line: She used to %pack poems
Last Line: And buzzed %when she died
Subject(s): Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)


EPITHALAMIUM AND SHIVAREE       
First Line: All cana was abuzz next day with stories
Last Line: Jitterbugging on shimmering air


FASTER THAN LIGHT       
First Line: I didn't want to pay to park my car
Last Line: My seatmate fast-talked into his cell phone


FISH AND FLOOR-DUST BOUQUET       
First Line: Abba jacob hums quietly, negotiating traffic
Last Line: Fish like sunlight from the afternoon sky


FOR MARY, FOURTH MONTH       
First Line: Open the drawer
Last Line: As someone opens %sad, knowing eyes


FORTUNATE SPILL       
First Line: Well! Johnnie thinks. He has his nerve!
Last Line: And I watch from this distant balcony %as they fall for eachother, and for me
Subject(s): Family Life


FOUR A.M. IN THE WOODS    Poem Text    
First Line: Darkness softens, a thin


FREEMAN FIELD    Poem Text    
First Line: It was a cool evening
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; Relatives


FREEMAN FIELD       
First Line: It was a cool evening
Last Line: To smoke, watching %the german pow's pump gas, %wash windshields %and laugh %at the motorpool %acros
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life


HECUBA MOURNS    Poem Text    
First Line: Ah, my daughter
Subject(s): Mourning; Bereavement


HECUBA MOURNS       
First Line: Ah, my daughter
Last Line: For one single, blessed, eternal moment


HERBS IN THE ATTIC       
First Line: A cat by the fireside, purring


HIGH AND HAUGHTY    Poem Text    
First Line: Ray, almost a spinster, gave up
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


HIGH AND HAUGHTY       
First Line: Ray, almost a spinster, gave up
Last Line: A white man called toward the house: %mister mitchell? %and ray became, %at long last, %a queen
Subject(s): Family Life


HOME    Poem Text    
First Line: I neither remember / the first time
Last Line: And shot me with / america
Subject(s): Education; Schools; Students


HOME       
First Line: I neither remember %the first time
Last Line: And shot me with %america
Subject(s): Education; Schools


HOUSE ON MOSCOW STREET       
First Line: It's the ragged source of memory
Last Line: Generations lost to be found, %to be found
Subject(s): Ethnic Groups - United States; Family Life; Minorities - United States; U.s. - Race Relations


HOW I DISCOVERED POETRY    Poem Text    
First Line: It was like soul-kissing, the way the words
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets


HOW I DISCOVERED POETRY       
First Line: It was like soul-kissing, the way the words
Last Line: To the buses, awed by the power of words


HURRAH, HURRAH    Poem Text    
First Line: A full moon rises
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


HURRAH, HURRAH       
First Line: A full moon rises
Last Line: Rufus never wears the uniform %again in his life. %a black man in france %wasn't the same %as a blac
Subject(s): Family Life


I AM YOU AGAIN       
Last Line: How loudly we can say our names


I DECIDE NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN       
First Line: Dawn, the gulls weep for the jews
Last Line: That warmed the whole house


I DREAM THE BOOK OF JONAH       
First Line: One stormy april afternoon
Last Line: I've come back empty-handed %singing %dazed


I IMAGINE DRIVING ACROSS COUNTRY       
Last Line: Still falling home down the highway


I KNEW THAT       
First Line: In his miraculously fixed
Last Line: (oh, said amma mama)


I SEND MAMA HOME    Poem Text    
First Line: I send you down the road from paden
Subject(s): Mothers


I SEND MAMA HOME       
First Line: I send you down the road from paden
Last Line: When you waved goodbye from the train


IMPALA       
First Line: On ballerina legs the dominant male commands the vista
Last Line: Which one of them the lions will take first


INTERMEZZO    Poem Text    
First Line: Pomp, at the foot of her lacy bed
Last Line: To give pomp a marble
Subject(s): Slavery; Reconstruction (1865-1876); Freedom


INTERMEZZO       
First Line: Pomp, at the foot of her lacy bed
Last Line: Johnny cowgill raced from the house %and into the rutted road %to give pomp a marble
Subject(s): Family Life


INVISIBLE       
First Line: Four of us in the park
Last Line: We use invisible kings %for the rest of the game


IS SHE OKAY?       
First Line: Easy to forget the little lies: I'll call you
Last Line: She remembers what one woman said


IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD    Poem Text    
First Line: How easily my heart falls back into habits
Subject(s): Anxiety; Jazz; Music & Musicians


IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD       
First Line: How easily my heart falls back into habits
Subject(s): Anxiety; Jazz; Music And Musicians


JUNETEENTH    Poem Text    
First Line: With her shiny black-patent sandals
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


JUNETEENTH       
First Line: With her shiny black-patent sandals
Last Line: With the newpaper editor, %who lost his other ear %getting away from a lynch-mob
Subject(s): Family Life


LA PESTE       
First Line: In the era of raining boys, a steady downpour
Last Line: After the black death, after the holocaust: survivors


LAUGHTER AS THE HIGHEST FORM OF CONTEMPLATION       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %do you know anything about zen?
Last Line: Abba jacob asked, and laughed %there's your koan
Subject(s): Laughter


LEAVING THE HOSPICE    Poem Text    
First Line: Abba jacob said: / it's amazing! The old nun has been resurrected!
Last Line: What awaits is welcome purer than true love's first kiss
Subject(s): Death


LEAVING THE HOSPICE       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %it's amazing: the old nun has been resurrected!
Last Line: What awaits is welcome purer than true love's first kiss


LETTER TO A BENEDICTINE MONK       
First Line: Dear frere jacques
Last Line: But perhaps you don't %remember me at all


LEVITATION WITH BABY       
First Line: The muse bumped
Last Line: As he ascended over the roof of his house %on the muse's huge, sun-spangled wings


LIFE OF A SAINT       
First Line: A boy walks out
Last Line: How he opened his beak %how he sang


LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI    Poem Text    
First Line: The trees paint their reflections
Last Line: In a little yellow book
Subject(s): Family Life; Mississippi River; African Americans; Relatives


LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI       
First Line: The trees paint their reflections
Subject(s): Family Life


LIGHT UNDER THE DOOR       
First Line: I remember hiding in the hall closet
Last Line: As I walked out into the light


LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON       
First Line: It comes over him sometimes, he can't help
Last Line: All right. Child of the only goddamned god he knows


LITTLE WHITE CHURCH    Poem Text    
First Line: Us free will baptists walked a thin tightwire
Subject(s): Worship; Christianity; Free Will & Determinism


LIVE JAZZ, FRANKLIN PARK ZOO       
First Line: A tree grew. Oh, remembering gorillas
Last Line: To receive it, music built a cathedral in their senses


LONELY EAGLES    Poem Text    
First Line: Being black in america
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Aviation & Aviators; Air Warfare; World War Ii; African Americans - Military; Family Life; James, General Daniel 'chappie' (1920-78); Airplanes; Air Pilots; Second World War; Relatives


LONELY EAGLES    Poem Text    
First Line: Being black in america
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; James, General Daniel 'chappie' (1920-78; Relatives


LONELY EAGLES       
First Line: Being black in america
Last Line: I used his mattress %for the rest of the tour. %it still bothers me, sometimes: %I was sleeping %on
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; James, General Daniel "chappie" (1920-78


LOST DAUGHTER       
First Line: One morning just before christmas


LOVESONG    Poem Text    
First Line: How shall I hold my spirit, that is not
Subject(s): Love


LOVESONG       
First Line: How shall I hold my spirit, that it not
Last Line: How sweet, how: ah!


MAMA I REMEMBER       
Last Line: Of loss in your thighs


MAMA'S MURDERS       
First Line: Her leg flies open like a dictionary dropped


MAMA'S PROMISE    Poem Text    
First Line: I have no answer to the blank inequity
Subject(s): Mothers; Death; Dead, The


MAMA'S PROMISE       
First Line: I have no answer to the blank inequity


MARRIAGE NIGHTMARE       
First Line: He's so romantic, he's kissed both my arms
Last Line: I wake up to a blue day


MAY YOUR LOVE CONVERT LUCIFER       
First Line: Abba jacob said: I pray for lucifer
Last Line: I'll bet it makes him %mad as hell


MEMENTO       
First Line: Somewhere in france a vacation album
Last Line: Her brown face, his loving listening. Behind them %sky, sea,three sailboats


MEN IN THE KITCHEN       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %I wonder if souls are unhappy
Last Line: His own mother and held her for ransom


MINOR MIRACLE    Poem Text    
First Line: Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood
Subject(s): African Americans; Racism; Regret; Negroes; American Blacks; Racial Prejudice; Bigotry


MINOR MIRACLE       
First Line: Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood
Last Line: He climbed back into his truck %and drove away


MY GRANDFATHER WALKS IN THE WOODS    Poem Text    
First Line: Somewhere / in the light above the womb
Subject(s): Grandparents; Trees; Grandmothers; Grandfathers; Great Grandfathers; Great Grandmothers


MY GRANDFATHER WALKS IN THE WOODS       
First Line: Somewhere %in the light above the womb
Last Line: With voices like wind %blowing away from him


MY PEOPLE       
First Line: Strutting around here acting humble
Last Line: Wasn't the blackest face on the faculty, %as if he wasn't a nigger


MY SECOND BIRTH       
First Line: That first birth
Last Line: I remember how she leaned over my crib, %her eyes full of sky


NAMING THE ANIMAL       
First Line: There's a beast in my chest


NEGRO HERO       
First Line: I had to kick their law into their teeth in order to save them
Last Line: To the continuation of their creed %and their lives


NO NO, BAD DADDY       
First Line: A black pendulum, a dark tree unexplained, inexplicable
Last Line: A child gasps awake, its scream sealed by an acid kiss


NO WORST       
First Line: The wicked stepmother bursts into her husband's
Last Line: The nosferatu behind the mask of a neighbor's face


OLD BIBLES       
First Line: I throw things away


OTHER WOMEN'S CHILDREN       
First Line: In wyoming, %plain as far as my eye can see
Last Line: The children who never cry
Subject(s): Children


PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MEDUSA    Poem Text    
First Line: Column six, page thirty-six
Last Line: With this simpleton love
Subject(s): Prisons & Prisoners; Crime & Criminals; Guilt


PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MEDUSA       
First Line: Column six, page thirty-six
Last Line: With this simpleton love


PLOTINUS SUITE       
First Line: Hard sex. The silken, honeyed twang of parting
Last Line: Here: make the flight of the alone to the alone


PORTER    Poem Text    
First Line: Suddenly / when I hear airplanes overhead
Last Line: He looks down. Then he looks at me and grins. / I took it, too!
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; Aviation & Aviators; Relatives


PORTER       
First Line: Suddenly %when I hear airplanes overhead
Last Line: When I put it down %she handed me a dime %as a tip. %he looks down. %then he looks at me and grins.
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life


POST-PRANDIAL CONVERSATION       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %I'm sorry; I forgot. I'm always forgetting things
Last Line: Then there was only the om of mosquitos


PRAYER OF SILENCE       
First Line: I've bought off the octopi and the great white shark
Last Line: Looks up, closes his eyes %and takes in %radiance


PROPOSITIONS       
First Line: The soul grows hunched, flinching away from pain
Last Line: Into the river of flame to feel anything at all


PSALM    Poem Text    
First Line: So many cars have driven past me
Subject(s): Automobile Drivers


PSALM       
First Line: So many cars have driven past me
Last Line: I shall not want


RECURRENT DREAM       
First Line: My father came back regularly, to see
Last Line: It knew the way. My love, I'm grown. Let go


RILKE'S THIRD ELEGY       
First Line: It's one thing to sing lovesongs. Another
Last Line: Hold him back


RUELLIA NOCTIFLORA    Poem Text    
First Line: A colored man come running at me out of the woods
Subject(s): Petunias


SACRAMENT OF POVERTY       
First Line: All the children on this ward are dying of aids
Last Line: Your wedding poem


SAWED-THROUGH-LINK    Poem Text    


SIMPLE WISDOM       
First Line: Abba jacob said: %there's a big difference between
Last Line: Know god by loving


SISTERS    Poem Text    
First Line: The school bus drove us home from high school, where
Subject(s): Women's Rights; Racism; Feminism; Racial Prejudice; Bigotry


SISTERS       
First Line: The school bus drove us home from high school, where
Last Line: To call a heifer out, and whup her ass


SLEEPLESS NIGHTS       
First Line: We used to tell each other erotic stories


SOLITUDE IN SOWETO       
First Line: I seek you in narrow sleep
Last Line: Where five grown men %weep toward dawn


SORT OF A CALLING       
First Line: Under a yellow moon that mused


STAR-FIX    Poem Text    
First Line: At his cramped desk
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; Relatives


STAR-FIX       
First Line: At his cramped desk
Last Line: Going hungry for five or six hours %to give his flight-lunch%to his two little girls
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life


STRANGE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN       
Last Line: What you doing here? %she asked me %the same thing


STRANGE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN       


TH FRUIT OF FAITH       
First Line: Abba jacob, on the word
Last Line: Come %says the master %partake


THE BALLAD OF AUNT GENEVA    Poem Text    
First Line: Geneva was the wild one
Subject(s): Family Life; Literary Form; Racism; Relatives; Racial Prejudice; Bigotry


THE CENTURY QUILT    Poem Text    
First Line: My sister and I were in love
Subject(s): Quilts


THE DREAM'S WISDOM    Poem Text    
First Line: I dreamed / mama came back
Subject(s): Mothers; Death; Dreams; Dead, The; Nightmares


THE FORTUNATE SPILL    Poem Text    
First Line: Well! Johnnie thinks. He has his nerve!
Last Line: As they fall for each other, and for me
Subject(s): Family Life; African Americans; Courtship; Luck; Love; Relatives


THE HOUSE ON MOSCOW STREET    Poem Text    
First Line: It's the ragged source of memory
Subject(s): Ethnic Groups - United States; Family Life; Minorities - United States; United States - Race Relations; Relatives


THE LACE-MAKER    Poem Text    
First Line: Late sunday morning gilds the pins and needles,
Subject(s): Lace


THREE MEN IN A TENT       
First Line: My one blood-uncle laughs
Last Line: One of us %to four %of them. %I sure missed %my old buddies.%I even missed %ol'corbon
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 1. SERMON IN THE COTTON FIELD       
First Line: His heart's upwelling of its own accord
Last Line: The lord hisself were tempted, brother mule


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 2. SERMON IN THE WOODLOT       
First Line: The lord himself was tested, brother mule
Last Line: The mules meander into sunshine, leaving the wood


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 3. SERMON IN THE RUINED GARDEN       
First Line: A mule meanders into sunshine from the wood
Last Line: By hitching your tanks for god's love to my plow


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 4. MEDITATION OVER THE WASHTUB       
First Line: Oh, I'm hitching my love for jesus to my plow
Last Line: Hosannas rise like incense on the wind


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 5. PALM SUNDAY, 1866       
First Line: Make our hosannas incense on the wind
Last Line: File out as the organist strikes up a hymn


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 6. GOOD FRIDAY PRAYER       
First Line: Defy him! Tear his organ off! Strike him
Last Line: The others? Well, it's like preaching to mules


THUS FAR BY FAITH: 7. EASTER SERMON, 1866       
First Line: Others might think it's like preaching to mules
Last Line: And a heart that wells up of its own accord


TO MARKET    Poem Text    
First Line: All the long way from jamaica
Subject(s): Family Life; Relatives


TO MARKET       
First Line: All the long way from jamaica
Subject(s): Family Life


TRIOLETS FOR TRIOLET       
First Line: Walk through the winding streets of triolet
Last Line: Was that you are good and just, and are not dead


TUSKEGEE AIRFIELD    Poem Text    
First Line: These men
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life; Relatives


TUSKEGEE AIRFIELD       
First Line: These men
Last Line: The instructor grinned. %boy, if your ass %is as hard as your head, %you'll go far in this world
Subject(s): African Americans - Military; Family Life


TWIST THE THREAD       
Last Line: The perfected past


TWO EXCERPTS FROM THE CACHOIERA TALES: CACHOIERA       
First Line: We slept, woke, breakfasted, and met the man
Last Line: We rode back into the quotidian


TWO EXCERPTS FROM THE CACHOIERA TALES: GENERAL PROLOGUE       
First Line: When april rains had drenched the root
Last Line: The one that showed me them dirty pictures!'


TWO-SEATER       
First Line: Johnnie and rufus before bedtime
Last Line: They laugh again, %then wipe, %pull up their pajamas %and race in to bed
Subject(s): Family Life


UNRHYMED PEACE SONNET    Poem Text    
First Line: Who are the good guys now? Who are the bad?
Subject(s): Politics & Government; War


UNRHYMED PEACE SONNET       
First Line: Who are the good guys now? Who are the bad?
Last Line: For pete's sake, send an angel! Burn a bush!
Subject(s): Politics; War


UPPER-TEN       
First Line: Big annie washed white people's linen
Last Line: Chief wright's laughter %rang back from the mirrors. %pomp atwood's only son %was a man
Subject(s): Family Life


WAR OF THE HEART       
First Line: The snows of kilimanjaro we planted
Last Line: Who writes, my deep friendship extends %to everyone you love


WILD PANSIES       
First Line: I rested in my mother's womb


WOMAN KILLS AND EATS OWN INFANT       
First Line: Tshew! Tshew! The kid's got a boy man whose limbs
Last Line: Our limitless capacity to do the worst we can conceive


WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM       
First Line: The splat of bare feet on wet tile