Saturday, February 20, 2010

the times, a poem by Lucille Clifton

the times
By Lucille Clifton

it is hard to remain human on a day
when birds perch weeping
in the trees and the squirrel eyes
do not look away but the dog ones do
in pity.
another child has killed a child
and i catch myself relieved that they are
white and i might understand except
that i am tired of understanding.
if this
alphabet could speak its own tongue
it would be all symbol surely;
the cat would hunch across the long table
and that would mean time is catching up,
and the spindle fish would run to ground
and that would mean the end is coming
and the grains of dust would gather themselves
along the streets and spell out:

these too are your children  this too is your child

Lucille Clifton © copyright
from Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000

Ms. Clifton died February 13, a week ago today. Her poem "the times" fits with the spirit of this blog, The Urban Mother's Book of Prayers.

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