Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Three poems by Lucille Clifton

Longtime Poet Laureate of Maryland is often compared to Emily Dickinson

Moonchild

whatever slid into my mother’s room that 

late june night, tapping her great belly, 

summoned me out roundheaded and unsmiling. 

is this the moon, my father used to grin. 

cradling me? it was the moon 

but nobody knew it then. 

the moon understands dark places. 

the moon has secrets of her own. 

she holds what light she can. 

we girls were ten years old and giggling 

in our hand-me-downs. we wanted breasts, 

pretended that we had them, tissued 

our undershirts. jay johnson is teaching 

me to french kiss, ella bragged, who 

is teaching you? how do you say; my father? 

the moon is queen of everything. 

she rules the oceans, rivers, rain. 

when I am asked whose tears these are 

I always blame the moon.


Cutting Greens

curling them around 

i hold their bodies in obscene embrace 

thinking of everything but kinship. 

collards and kale 

Sponsored
Sponsored

strain against each strange other 

away from my kissmaking hand and 

the iron bedpot. 

the pot is black. 

the cutting board is black, 

my hand, 

and just for a minute 

the greens roll black under the knife, 

and the kitchen twists dark on its spine 

and i taste in my natural appetite 

the bond of live things everywhere.


Lorena

it lay in my palm soft and trembled 

as a new bird and i thought about 

authority and how it always insisted 

on itself, how it was master 

of the man, how it measured him, never 

was ignored or denied, and how it promised 

there would be sweetness if it was obeyed 

just like the saints do, like the angels 

and i opened the window and held out my 

uncupped hand; i swear to god 

i thought it could fly

Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an American poet, and the Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. She twice placed as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Because of her poems’ brevity and clever use of rhyme, Clifton is often compared to Emily Dickinson. Her poetry is also distinguished by a lack of capitalization and short, clipped lines, which reflect a desire to pare down her experiences, as reflected in the verse, to the barest of essentials. Clifton’s poems often focus on race relations and the cultural experiences of blacks in American society.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Rosemarie's out to show sliders have legs in Mission Beach

A stationary kitchen turns out even saucier superstuffed mini buns
Next Article

Rosemarie's out to show sliders have legs in Mission Beach

A stationary kitchen turns out even saucier superstuffed mini buns

Moonchild

whatever slid into my mother’s room that 

late june night, tapping her great belly, 

summoned me out roundheaded and unsmiling. 

is this the moon, my father used to grin. 

cradling me? it was the moon 

but nobody knew it then. 

the moon understands dark places. 

the moon has secrets of her own. 

she holds what light she can. 

we girls were ten years old and giggling 

in our hand-me-downs. we wanted breasts, 

pretended that we had them, tissued 

our undershirts. jay johnson is teaching 

me to french kiss, ella bragged, who 

is teaching you? how do you say; my father? 

the moon is queen of everything. 

she rules the oceans, rivers, rain. 

when I am asked whose tears these are 

I always blame the moon.


Cutting Greens

curling them around 

i hold their bodies in obscene embrace 

thinking of everything but kinship. 

collards and kale 

Sponsored
Sponsored

strain against each strange other 

away from my kissmaking hand and 

the iron bedpot. 

the pot is black. 

the cutting board is black, 

my hand, 

and just for a minute 

the greens roll black under the knife, 

and the kitchen twists dark on its spine 

and i taste in my natural appetite 

the bond of live things everywhere.


Lorena

it lay in my palm soft and trembled 

as a new bird and i thought about 

authority and how it always insisted 

on itself, how it was master 

of the man, how it measured him, never 

was ignored or denied, and how it promised 

there would be sweetness if it was obeyed 

just like the saints do, like the angels 

and i opened the window and held out my 

uncupped hand; i swear to god 

i thought it could fly

Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an American poet, and the Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. She twice placed as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Because of her poems’ brevity and clever use of rhyme, Clifton is often compared to Emily Dickinson. Her poetry is also distinguished by a lack of capitalization and short, clipped lines, which reflect a desire to pare down her experiences, as reflected in the verse, to the barest of essentials. Clifton’s poems often focus on race relations and the cultural experiences of blacks in American society.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: House of Blues’ Voodoo Room hosts Friko and Mind’s Eye

All-ages venue gives emerging acts a shot at reaching San Diegans of different generations
Next Article

Live Arts Fest, San Diego Bayfest, Cardiff Dog Days of Summer

Events July 18-July 21, 2024
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.