Thursday, October 31, 2013


The Library of Congress

Out in the pasture cool and green,
Where the murmuring brook is seen,
Hurrying its way in its noisy glee
To mingle its waves with the dark blue sea,
I sit and watch, while the shadows creep,
The quiet ways of a flock of sheep.

I watch their ways as they slowly pass,
Stopping to pluck at the tender grass,
And my thoughts go back to the fields once trod,
By the sinless feet of the "Lamb of God,"
Of the sweet words uttered and dear commands
'Mongst which was this one, "Feed my lambs."

But as I sit in the waning light
I notice the sheep are not all white,
There are two black sheep with their white wooled brothers,
But they run with the flock and eat grass with the others,
And as I glance from left to right
I wonder if sheep know black from white.

But list! there comes from among the sheep
A voice that counsels both low and sweet,
And it says, we sheep can ne'er decide,
For the blackest sheep are white inside.
So we go by this, "judge not thy brother,"
And dwell in peace and love each other.

In the pasture green of this world of ours
There are many thistles and many flowers,
And the time ne'er'll come 'til we sleep our last sleep,
When a flock will be found without its black sheep.
I've wondered sometimes if in the last great day
When the good and the bad shall go their way,
We'll not be astonished and doubt our sight,
To see our black sheep turn out white.

The above pretty poem was written by Mrs. Twing when seventeen years of age. Since then she has become famous as the medium for the spiritual writings of Samuel Bowles, late Editor of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, entitled: No. 1, Experiences of Samuel Bowles (late editor of the Springfield, Mass., Republican) In Spirit Life; or Life as he now sees it from a Spiritual Stand-Point. Written through the mediumship of Carrie E. S. Twing, of Westfield, N. Y. Price,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bride Song.

By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)
From ‘The Prince’s Progress’

TOO late for love, too late for joy,

  Too late, too late!
You loiter’d on the road too long,
  You trifled at the gate:
The enchanted dove upon her branch        5
  Died without a mate;
The enchanted princess in her tower
  Slept, died, behind the grate;
Her heart was starving all this while
  You made it wait.        10
Ten years ago, five years ago,
  One year ago,
Even then you had arrived in time,
  Though somewhat slow;
Then you had known her living face        15
  Which now you cannot know:
The frozen fountain would have leap’d,
  The buds gone on to blow,
The warm south wind would have awaked
  To melt the snow.        20
Is she fair now as she lies?
  Once she was fair;
Meet queen for any kingly king,
  With gold-dust on her hair.
Now there are poppies in her locks,        25
  White poppies she must wear;
Must wear a veil to shroud her face
  And the want graven there:
Or is the hunger fed at length,
  Cast off the care?        30
We never saw her with a smile
  Or with a frown;
Her bed seem’d never soft to her,
  Though toss’d of down;
She little heeded what she wore,        35
  Kirtle, or wreath, or gown;
We think her white brows often ached
  Beneath her crown,
Till silvery hairs show’d in her locks
  That used to be so brown.        40
We never heard her speak in haste:
  Her tones were sweet,
And modulated just so much
  As it was meet:
Her heart sat silent through the noise        45
  And concourse of the street.
There was no hurry in her hands,
  No hurry in her feet;
There was no bliss drew nigh to her,
  That she might run to greet.        50
You should have wept her yesterday,
  Wasting upon her bed:
But wherefore should you weep to-day
  That she is dead?
Lo, we who love weep not to-day,        55
  But crown her royal head.
Let be these poppies that we strew,
  Your roses are too red:
Let be these poppies, not for you
  Cut down and spread.        60
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Monday, October 28, 2013


Dora  Read Goodale.
RARE nights have been, but never night like this!

Never so softly breathed the ebbing gale
Where, in locked slumber, rolls the interval
Under the brown edge of the precipice!
Oh, softly, from the purple hushed abyss
With all its heavenly legions streaming pale,
The moon, bright-orbed behind her crystal veil,
Melts to this rude world in a stainless kiss!
Such is the hour when skyey forces. hover;
The prisoned spirit leaps to burst its bars,
Earth's dullest mortal thrilling like a lover-.
Poor shepherd dazed beneath that gulf of stars!
Till time and sense and rock and sand and sea
Fade in the white glare of immensity.



Louise Chandler Moulton.
We sit and chat in the familiar place,-

We two, where in those other years were three,Till,

suddenly, you turn your eyes from me,

And in the empty air I see a face,

Serenely smiling with the old-time grace,

And we are three again. All silently

The third guest entered; and as silent we,

Held mute by very awe for some brief space.

And then we question, Has he come to stay?Was

heaven lonely to the child of earth?

Was there no nectar in immortal bliss

To warm lips thirsting for a mortal kiss?

Has the new lesson taught the old love's worth?

The still ghost hears, and smiles, and - goes his way.

Love Not.

By Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton

LOVE not, love not, ye hapless sons of clay!
  Hope’s gayest wreaths are made of earthly flow’rs—
Things that are made to fade and fall away,
  When they have blossom’d but a few short hours.
                        Love not, love not!        5
Love not, love not! The thing you love may die—
  May perish from the gay and gladsome earth;
The silent stars, the blue and smiling sky,
  Beam on its grave as once upon its birth.
                        Love not, love not!        10
Love not, love not! The thing you love may change,
  The rosy lip may cease to smile on you;
The kindly beaming eye grow cold and strange;
  The heart still warmly beat, yet not be true.
                        Love not, love not!        15
Love not, love not! O warning vainly said
  In present years, as in the years gone by!
Love flings a halo round the dear one’s head,
  Faultless, immortal—till they change or die!
                        Love not, love not!        20
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Queen Of The Ocean.

Library of Congress
Air--"When Stars are in the Quiet Skies."

As late upon the deep blue sea,
Dark clouds were seen to lower;
With thunder storm and battle cry,
And lightnings flashing o' er,

I saw the noblest ship of state,
The ocean ever bore;
Her stars so bright, her compass right,
And the stripes she gaily wore.

Queen of the ocean she had been,
For many a happy year;
But now a storm was coming on,
And a pirate bark drew near.

The captain spake: "My God!" he cried,
"All hearts are in Thy view;
On Thy right arm we have relied,
To bear us safely through.

Once more, all hands! on deck again!
All brave hearts--and all true;
That traitor band shall now be slain,
God's trumpet loudly blew!

The ocean's storm, the thunder's roar,
And the lightnings dashing on;
That rebel bark was seen no more,
All hailed the victory won!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

The North and the South.

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
Rome, May 1861

‘NOW give us lands where the olives grow,’
    Cried the North to the South,
‘Where the sun with a golden mouth can blow
Blue bubbles of grapes down a vineyard-row!’
    Cried the North to the South.        5
‘Now give us men from the sunless plain,’
    Cried the South to the North,
‘By need of work in the snow and the rain,
Made strong, and brave by familiar pain!’
    Cried the South to the North.        10
‘Give lucider hills and intenser seas,’
    Said the North to the South,
‘Since ever by symbols and bright degrees
Art, childlike, climbs to the dear Lord’s knees,’
    Said the North to the South.        15
‘Give strenuous souls for belief and prayer,’
    Said the South to the North,
‘That stand in the dark on the lowest stair,
While affirming of God, “He is certainly there,”’
    Said the South to the North.        20
‘Yet O, for the skies that are softer and higher!’
    Sigh’d the North to the South;
‘For the flowers that blaze, and the trees that aspire,
And the insects made of a song or a fire!’
    Sigh’d the North to the South.        25
‘And O, for a seer to discern the same!’
    Sigh’d the South to the North;
‘For a poet’s tongue of baptismal flame,
To call the tree or the flower by its name!’
    Sigh’d the South to the North.        30
The North sent therefore a man of men
    As a grace to the South;
And thus to Rome came Andersen.
‘Alas, but must you take him again?’
    Said the South to the North.        35

Friday, October 25, 2013


By Caroline Clive (1801–1873)
AS one whose country is distraught with war,
  Where each must guard his own with watchful hand,
Roams at the evening hour along the shore
  And fain would seek beyond a calmer land;
So I, perplex’d on life’s tumultuous way,        5
  Where evil pow’rs too oft my soul enslave,
Along thy ocean, Death, all pensive stray,
  And think of shores thy pensive billows lave.
And glad were I to hear the boatman’s cry,
  Which to his shadowy bark my steps should call,        10
To woe and weakness heave my latest sigh,
  And cease to combat where so oft I fall:
Or, happier, where some victory cheer’d my breast,
  That hour to quit the anxious field would choose,
And seek th’ eternal seal on virtue’s rest,        15
  Oft won, oft lost, and O! too dear to lose!
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Words by Florence PERCY.
Library of Congress

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight!
Make me a child again, just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart, as of yore.
Kiss from my forehead tho furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair..
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep..
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep!

Clasped to your heart, in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never here-after to wake or to weep..
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep!
Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love, like mother-love, ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish and patient, like yours.
None, like a mother, can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain;
Slumber's soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep..
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep!

Chorus: Clasped to your heart, &c.

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again, as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead to-night,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light..
For, with its sunny edged shadows, once more,
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore,
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows seep..
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep!

Chorus: Clasped to your heart, &c.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Other Woman

Kobo Touch Poem by: Aisha K. Moore
You wonder whether I am serious
doubting my intent
this ruthless inclination
the revengeful desire to destroy
what I cannot have

Sleeping on me would
be your fatal flaw
underestimating the seething rage
that swept through my being
erasing all rationale and calm
eradicating logic and reason

You think I won't shatter that thin shell
shaping and forming your world
expose your flawed spirit and selfish self

Yeah, I'll let her know that
every taste of you has a
lingering residue of me and
every technique you ever taught was
learned in my secret sanctuary

You want to back me into a corner with
ultimatums of loyalty and silence
coupled with monogamy or else
in exchange for lifestyle maintenance and
random rendezvous, offering up bits of you
cause I can't have the whole

My refusal sparks your goodbye after
my morals have been compromised
self esteem demolished and self worth measured
price tag attached, bartered and sold

Trust me, if you walk through that door
I have no problem
                        Making that call

A POOR torn heart, a tattered heart.


Part One: Life


Emily Dickinson (1830–86).

A POOR torn heart, a tattered heart,
That sat it down to rest,
Nor noticed that the ebbing day
Flowed silver to the west,
Nor noticed night did soft descend        5
Nor constellation burn,
Intent upon the vision
Of latitudes unknown.
The angels, happening that way,
This dusty heart espied;        10
Tenderly took it up from toil
And carried it to God.
There,—sandals for the barefoot;
There,—gathered from the gales,
Do the blue havens by the hand        15
Lead the wandering sails.
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Natasha Trethewey To Second Term as U.S. Poet Laureate

From The Library of Congress

Library of Congress Appoints Natasha Trethewey To Second Term as U.S. Poet Laureate

Trethewey Will Launch Project as Part of the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Natasha Trethewey to serve a second term as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
"The Library and the country are fortunate Natasha Trethewey will continue her work as Poet Laureate," said Billington. "Natasha’s first term was a resounding success, and we could not be more thrilled with her plans for the coming year."
Trethewey’s second term will begin in September. She will follow previous multiyear laureates—such as Kay Ryan, Ted Kooser, and Billy Collins—and undertake a signature project: a regular feature on the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series. Trethewey will join NewsHour Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown for a series of on-location reports in various cities across the United States to explore several large societal issues, through a focused lens offered by poetry and her own coming-to-the-art.
The Poetry Series, featured on the PBS NewsHour, engages a broad audience through thoughtful, in-depth reports on contemporary poets and poetry. Online, the NewsHour features weekly poems on its Art Beat blog as well as on a special page dedicated to poetry.
Ms. Trethewey’s first term as the 19th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry was noteworthy for her "Office Hours," during which she met with the general public in the Library’s Poetry Room—harkening back to a tradition established by her predecessors in the post from 1937 to 1986. For her second year, Trethewey will move beyond the capital to seek out the many ways poetry lives in communities across the country and addresses issues and concerns of Americans.
In that pursuit, she will draw on her own life experiences as a guide—visiting places she feels a personal connection to, such as a domestic violence center, an inner-city school, a prison or juvenile detention center, a nursing home, or places that have suffered natural or man-made disasters. The specific locations will be determined closer to the start of the Poet Laureate’s second term. In her travels to cities and towns for the series, Trethewey also intends to hold "Office Hours on the Road"—meeting with members of the general public as she did in the Library.
Trethewey is the author of four poetry collections, including her newest, "Thrall" (2012). Her other collections are "Native Guard" (2006), winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; "Bellocq’s Ophelia" (2002); and "Domestic Work" (2000). She is also the author the nonfiction book "Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast" (2010).
Trethewey is also serving as the Poet Laureate of Mississippi, which holds a four-year term, and will continue in both positions next year. Her other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the four-time recipient of the Book Prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters and has twice received the Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. She is also the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year.
Born in Gulfport, Miss., in 1966, Trethewey earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of Georgia, a master’s in poetry from Hollins University, and a master of fine arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 2005-2006, she was named the Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. In 2009-2010, she was the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. At Emory University, Trethewey is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and director of the Creative Writing Program.
The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center fosters and enhances the public's appreciation of literature. To this end, the center administers the endowed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry position, coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures, conferences, and symposia, and sponsors high-profile prizes and fellowships for literary writers. For more information, visit
PBS NewsHour is seen by more than one million viewers nightly on more than 300 public television stations. It is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced in association with WETA Washington, D.C. Major funding for the PBS NewsHour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers; funding for the NewsHour Poetry Series is provided by the Poetry Foundation, the publisher of Poetry magazine and an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. For more information, visit link) and link).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Pick up an ebook you won't be able to put downBy Mary Josephine HIGGINS.
Library of Congress

There came to Columbia a young Son of Erin;
He was brave, he was noble, and like him how few!
In Columbia's ranks he is now a young soldier,
To fight for the Union, I know, he'll prove true;
His home and his parents are all left behind him,
He's gone to the battle, a patriot true;
May Heaven protect him, when wildly war wages,
To stand by the Banner of Red, White and Blue!

How sad 'tis to part from those we love dearly!
Joseph, dear brother, farewell now to thee!
Remember the day we left our own Country,
Erin, dear Erin, Acushla Machree!
Oh! may you return with victory-crowned laurel,
A brave Irish Soldier, like your forefathers true!
They fought 'neath the Shamrock, the Emblem of Erin;
Do you do the same 'neath the Red, White and Blue.

Farewell! my dear brother, may Heaven protect thee,
Far from thy Country, thy kindred and all!
I know you are true to the Land you came to;
You'll conquer for Freedom, or gloriously fall!
Then go, my dear Joseph, tho' sadly we'll miss thee,
And often will think of thy last fond Adieu.
Oh! may you return to me, my dear brother,
When conquered the Foe of the Red, White and Blue!

Yes, I would the war were over,

The Music for this popular Song, is published by
WINNER & Co, No. 833 Spring Garden Street, below Tenth, Philadelphia.
Library of Congress

Yes, I would the war were over,
Would the cruel work were done;
With my country undivided,
And the battle fought and won.
Let the contest now before us,
Be decided by the sword,
For the war cannot be ended
Till the Union is restored.

Yes, I would the war were over,
Would the cruel work were done,
With my Country still united,
And the many States in one.
Dead upon the field of battle,
Husbands, sons and brothers lie;
Friends are waiting--wives and mothers,
Looking for them by and by.
Far away from home forever,
Many a noble boy lies slain;
Look not for thy child, fond mother,
Thou shalt see him not again.

CHORUS--Yes, I would the war were over, &c.

Yes, I would the war were ended,
And the cruel struggle o'er,
But our flag must be defended,
And our country as before.
Peace indeed, is Heaven's blessing
Though its joys are easy lost,
Still we'll battle for our nation,
Whatsoe'er it yet may cost.

CHORUS--Yes, I would the war were over, &c.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The First Black Woman

Author Unknown

The First Woman, a Black Woman.
The natural abundance
of the earth suggests
that the Black Woman is divine,
since all life proceeds from her.
The Black Woman was
the FIRST gardener.
The Black Woman as she nourished,
introduced agriculture.
Her experience in producing life,
could best evoke the seed to
sprout and flower.
The Black Woman provided
for her family as food gatherer.
Using her knowledge of herbs,
she was the FIRST
practitioners of medicine.
In addition to providing food
the Black Woman created weaving.
The patching of old
baskets, with clay
led to the making of pottery.
For the Black Women every aspect
of daily domestic routine
was considered holy and
with ritual intent.
In our time of glory,
giving birth was sacred.
Children were named after
their Black mothers.
The Sacred Black Woman

Black Woman

 Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966)
from: Black American Poet's of the 1920's
Don’t knock at the door, little child,
     I cannot let you in,
You know not what a world this is
     Of cruelty and sin.
Wait in the still eternity
     Until I come to you,
The world is cruel, cruel, child,
     I cannot let you in!

Don’t knock at my heart, little one,
     I cannot bear the pain
Of turning deaf-ear to your call
     Time and time again!
You do not know the monster men
     Inhabiting the earth,
Be still, be still, my precious child,
     I must not give you birth!

Monday, October 21, 2013

President Lincoln.

By Sarah Williams (“Sadie”) (1841–1868)
“THEY killed him then? the cowards—be it so!
  Henceforth he is immortal—President,
Until the dead shall waken: none may know
  His term of office now, nor how ’tis spent.
“His life is rounded off and perfect now;        5
  It reached its fitting climax when great Death
Herself stooped down to crown the victor’s brow,
  And set the seal of silence on his breath.
“Nor foe nor friend can fret him into speech;
  He shines as calmly as some distant star,        10
Whose light these lower worlds of ours can reach,
  While not a cloud doth e’er extend so far.
“Silent and grand, embalmed in suffering,
  What monarch ever lay in state like this?
We dare not weep, we hear the angels sing,        15
  Exultant, as they welcome him to bliss.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Powerful Black Female Poets

Phyllis Wheatley
In 1773 Phyllis Wheatley became the first African American and the third woman in the United States to publish a book of poems. A second manuscript was written, but never published, nor found. Since that time, black female poets have spoken loud and clear about the angst and optimism of the black experience. Four of these sisters who broke new ground are Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou.

Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni, Jr. was born June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tennessee and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Giovanni attended Fisk University and In 1967 earned in B.A. in history. Later she became a professor of writing and literature at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She has penned two dozen books, most notably her works of poetry during the 60s. These works include "Black Feeling, Black Talk" (1968), "Black Judgement" (1968), and "Re: Creation" (1970). Her three most recent works are "Love Poems," "Blues: For All the Changes," and "Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea; Poems and Not Quite Poems," and "Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People." In 1988 she published a collection of essays, "Sacred Cows...and Other Edibles."

It has been written that, "Her collection of poetry, 'Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement,' captures the militant attitude of the civil rights and Black Art movements of that time."

Wilsonia Sonia Benita Sanchez is a poet/playwright and educator borm September 9, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama. Like Ms. Giovanni she earned a B.A. degree. Sanchez received hers in political science from Hunter College in 1955. She has won numerous literary honors including the Lucretia Mott Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award and an honorary Ph.D from Wilberforce University (1972).

In 1972 Sanchez joined the Nation of Islam. However, she left in 1975 because some of her views conflicted with the Nation of Islam's position on women's roles. Sanchez has always been known for the fact that her political activism is also evident in her plays and poetry. Her work includes, "Homegirls & Hand Grenades" (1985), for which she received the American Book Award. Her most notable plays include, "The Bronx is Next" (1970), "Sister Sonji" (1972), "Malcolm Man/Don't Live Here No More" (1979), and "I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't" (1982).

In 1965 she joined the faculty at San Francisco State University. She also taught at Rutgers University, the University of Pittsburgh, Manhattan Community College of CUNY; The City College of CUNY, Amherst College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Ten years later she was on the faculty of Temple University.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born June 7, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas. However, the Brooks family soon moved to Chicago. According to researcher Kenny Jackson, as a young woman Brooks was fortunate enough to meet "James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes, who urged her to read modern poetry--especially the work of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and e. e. cummings--and who emphasized the need to write as much and as frequently as she possibly could."

Subsequently, much of her work was featured in the Chicago Defender. In 1945 her first book of poetry was published, "A Street In Bronzeville." That same year she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. While it was critically well received, as was her second book 1949's "Annie Allen." Five years hence Ms. Brooks struck pay-dirt. That year she became the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Over the years she was invited to read at a Library of Congress poetry festival (1962), named as a poetry consultant to that same body (1985) and in 1994 she was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities as the 1994 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government.

According to Jackson, "A turning point in her career came in 1967 when she attended the Fisk University Second Black Writers' Conference and decided to become more involved in the Black Arts movement. She became one of the most visible articulators of 'the black aesthetic.' Her 'awakening' led to a shift away from a major publishing house to smaller black ones. While some critics found an angrier tone in her work, elements of protest had always been present in her writing and her awareness of social issues did not result in diatribes at the expense of her clear commitment to aesthetic principles."

Some of her works include, "Bronzeville Boys and Girls" (1956), "In the Mecca" (1968).

"The Bean Eaters" (1960), "Selected Poems" (1963), and "Report from Part One: An Autobiography" (1972). Her latest work is a book of poetry titled, "In Montgomery." Many of her poems are powerful pieces that dealt with the abject nature of inner city life and racial inequality. It has been written that the impetus for a lot of her work came about by "looking out of the window of her second-floor apartment house in Chicago." Perhaps Brooks is best known for the succinct and soulful, "We Real Cool":
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Brooks said of the pool players in her classic work, "They have no pretensions to any glamour. They are supposedly dropouts, or at least they're in the poolroom when they should possibly be in school. You're supposed to stop after the 'We' and think about their validity...I want to represent their basic uncertainty, which they don't bother to question every day."

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. During her twenties Maya studied dance in New York City and also sang in nightclubs on both coasts. She has lived all over the world, even serving as editor for The Arab Observer, a Cairo newspaper. She also taught in music and drama in Ghana and studied cinematography in Sweden. Marguerite later married Tosh Angelos, a Greek-American sailor. Theirs was a short-lived marriage and they divorced.

Angelou is a poet, actor, director, producer and author of stage, film and television. She is the author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1969), which focused on growing up in the racist South and her rape by her mother's boyfriend, and her volume of poetry "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die" (1971). She earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the score she wrote for the film, "Georgia." In 1977, she was nominated for an Emmy award for her portrayal of Nyo Boto in the television miniseries"Roots."

She has served under Presidents Ford and Carter, as a member of the Bicentennial Commission and a member of the Commission for the International Woman of the Year. In 1993, she was asked to read an original poem for the William Jefferson Clinton inauguration--a piece titled, On the Pulse of Morning."

According to Wikipedia, "Comedian David Alan Grier spoofed Angelou while hosting the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. The gag was that Angelou (played by Grier) had been hired as the new spokesperson for Pennzoil motor oils. In character, Grier read a poem dramatically, using Afrocentrism as an analogy for motor oil. There was a similar joke during the same episode with Grier-as-Angelou hawking Froot Loops breakfast cereal. Angelou is said to have requested a copy of the sketch on videotape because she so enjoyed it."

Angelou once penned:
...Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me...

Nikki Giovanni biography Wikipedia
"Women of Color Women of Word, African American Female Playwrights--Sonia Sanchez." Author and publication unknown.
"An Interview with Brooks: On 'We Real Cool'," by George Stavros
"Gwendolyn Brooks' Life and Career," by Kenny Jackson Williams
"Maya Angelou, biography,"
Timothy N. Stelly, Sr. is a novelist who resides in NMorthern California. He is the author of "Tempest In The Stone," "The Malice of Cain" and "Like A Straight-Up Sucka." He is also a poet and featured coluimnist at
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Coast-guard’s Story

By Sarah Williams (“Sadie”) (1841–1868)
(From “Songs of Comrades”)

   OUT on the isle of Mona,

      Mona with rocks so red,
For the sins of the wreckers who preyed there once,
  So the tradition said,
There lived a sturdy coast-guard,        5
  Watching the whole night long;
And he sang to the sea, to the sea sang he,
  This was his simple song:—
“Only over the sea,
  Only over the sea!        10
There my love doth dwell, she that loves me well,
  Waiting and looking for me.”
Singing away the darkness,
  Unto the dawning white,
When the sea-gulls came screaming, “A—i—e. ’Tis day!”        15
  Bats shivered, “Woe for night!”
Out of the waning darkness,
  Driven before the sun,
A ship came drifting, and drifting fast,
A ship with never a sail nor mast,        20
  All of its voyage done.
The coast-guard waited with hands fast clenched,
  Visage a purple white,
“Something is here that I needs must fear,
  After my dream last night.”        25
The ship came closer, the skeleton ship—
  Tangle of shattered ropes,
  Fragments of scattered hopes,
  Did round its timbers cling;
Among the shrouds, in a hammock of wreck,        30
  A dead man’s form did swing.
The coast-guard sprang with his heavy strength,
  And bore the body down;
He drew it in to a tomb-like rock,—
  The dead man seemed to frown.        35
The ship went curtseying back to sea,
  Like one whose task was done;
The coast-guard stood, in a daze stood he,
  Before the blinding sun.
Of all he rescued from out the sea        40
  He saw one hand alone;
On all the hand he could only see
  One well-remembered stone.
  “O ring!” the coast-guard cried,
  “How hast thou come to this?        45
The ring I gave her, my promised bride,
  With many a tear and kiss?
  “Man, didst thou slay my wife?
  Though thou wert three times dead
I would avenge her, would claim thy life        50
  For each dear hair of her head.
  “Or did she give my ring?
  How could such vileness be?
Man, with the truth at your black false heart,
  Declare it now to me!”—        55
The dead man smiled with an awful calm,
  And not a word said he.
  “If she be false! O God,
  Thou who the truth canst tell.”
The coast-guard swayed like a tree up-torn,        60
  And on his knees he fell.
  He grasped the fingers stiff,
  And loosed them one by one;
The dead man’s hand was a faithful hand,
  Its work was nearly done.        65
  A letter, held till now,
  Dropped from the open palm;
The case was sealed with the coast-guard’s name—
  He read in dream-like calm.
  “Love,” so it ran, “I am writing,        70
  Writing our last Good-bye;
I send the ring by a trusty hand,
  For they say I must die, must die.
  Do not be broken-hearted,
  Lover so true, so dear;        75
The pain is nothing,—I think of you,
  And I know that you fain were here.
  But you must hold your post, dear
  Must not be ruined for me;
Before my letter can reach you, love,        80
  I shall see you across the sea.
“Only a little while, dear,
  You will be free, be free!
We two shall meet on the golden street,
  In the city that knows no sea.        85
      Love, true love!
    Be happy, not sad, for me.”
The letter dropt from his palsied hand,
Two men lay stretched on the shifting strand
Like brothers lay, in a close embrace,        90
The cold sea-spray on each pale, pale face.
But the one to whom living meant only pain,
Was the one to be laden with life again.
Many a year has vanished;
  Grey is the coast-guard now,        95
With a shadowy smile in his tender eyes,
  Strength on his patient brow.
Still at his work he paces,
  Watching the whole night long;
And the birds, his companions, asleep on high,        100
  Hear not his passionate song.
“Only over the sea,
  Only over the sea!
There my love doth dwell, she that loves me well,
  Waiting and looking for me.”        105
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The Ghost.

By Edith (Nesbit) Bland (1858–1924)

THE YEAR fades, as the west wind sighs,
  And droops in many-coloured ways,
But your soft presence never dies
  From out the pathway of my days.
The spring is where you are; but still        5
  You, far away, to me can bring
Sweet flowers and dreams enough to fill
  A thousand empty worlds with spring.
I walk the wet and leafless woods,
  Your spirit ever floats before,        10
And lights its russet solitudes
  With blossoms summer never wore.
I sit beside my lonely fire,
  The shadows almost bring your face,
And light with memory and desire        15
  My desolated dwelling-place.
Among my books I feel your hand
  That turns the page just past my sight;
Sometimes behind my chair you stand
  And read the foolish rhymes I write.        20
The old piano’s keys I press
  In random chords—until I hear
Your voice, your rustling silken dress,
  And smell the roses that you wear.
I do not weep now any more,        25
  I think I hardly even sigh,
I would not let you think I bore
  The kind of wound of which men die.
Believe that smooth content has grown
  Over the ghastly grave of pain;        30
Content! Oh lips that were my own
  That I shall never kiss again!

Natural Selection.

By Constance C. W. Naden (1858–1889)
I HAD found out a gift for my fair,
  I had found where the cave men were laid:
Skulls, femur and pelvis were there,
  And spears that of silex they made.
But he ne’er could be true, she averred,        5
  Who would dig up an ancestor’s grave—
And I loved her the more when I heard
  Such foolish regard for the cave.
My shelves they are furnished with stones,
  All sorted and labelled with care;        10
And a splendid collection of bones,
  Each one of them ancient and rare;
One would think she might like to retire
  To my study—she calls it a “hole”!
Not a fossil I heard her admire        15
  But I begged it, or borrowed, or stole.
But there comes an idealess lad,
  With a strut and a stare and a smirk;
And I watch, scientific, though sad,
  The Law of Selection at work.        20
Of Science he had not a trace,
  He seeks not the How and the Why,
But he sings with an amateur’s grace,
  And he dances much better than I.
And we know the more dandified males        25
  By dance and by song win their wives—
’Tis a law that with avis prevails,
  And ever in Homo survives.
Shall I rage as they whirl in the valse?
  Shall I sneer as they carol and coo?        30
Ah no! for since Chloe is false
  I’m certain that Darwin is true.


A Song For Women.

By Annie Matheson (1853–1924)
WITHIN a dreary narrow room
That looks upon a noisome street,
Half fainting with the stifling heat,
A starving girl works out her doom.
    Yet not the less in God’s sweet air        5
    The little birds sing, free of care,
    And hawthorns blossom everywhere.
Swift, ceaseless toil scarce wins her bread:
From early dawn till twilight falls,
Shut in by four dull, ugly walls,        10
The hours crawl round with murderous tread.
    And all the while, in some still place,
    Where intertwining boughs embrace,
    The blackbirds build, time flies apace.
With envy of the folk who die,        15
Who may at last their leisure take,
Whose longed-for sleep none roughly wake,
Tired hands the restless needle ply.
    But far and wide in meadows green
    The golden buttercups are seen,        20
    And reddening sorrel nods between.
Too pure and proud to soil her soul,
Or stoop to basely-gotten gain,
By days of changeless want and pain
The seamstress earns a prisoner’s dole.        25
    While in the peaceful fields the sheep
    Feed, quiet; and through heaven’s blue deep
    The silent cloud-wings stainless sweep.
And if she be alive or dead,
That weary woman scarcely knows;        30
But back and forth her needle goes
In tune with throbbing heart and head.
    Lo, where the leaning alders part,
    White-bosomed swallows, blithe of heart,
    Above still waters skim and dart.        35
O God in heaven! shall I, who share
That dying woman’s womanhood,
Taste all the summer’s bounteous good
Unburdened by her weight of care?
    The white moon-daisies star the grass,        40
    The lengthening shadows o’er them pass,
    The meadow tool is smooth as glass.