Monday, November 16, 2020

Lucille Clifton*

Lucile Clifton (1936—2010) is an American poet who grew up in Buffalo, New York. Her poetry is often concerned with family, community, racial identify, and hope. Frequently she includes biblical allusions, and speaks of deep spiritual beliefs. She is also known as an award-winning children’s author.

Clifton was a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965–2010 (BOA Editions) brought together her previously published poems plus several that had not previously appeared.

God send easter

and we will lace the
jungle on
and step out
brilliant as birds
against the concrete country
feathers waving as we
dance toward jesus
sun reflecting mango
and apple as we
glory in our skin

the calling of the disciples

some Jesus
has come on me
i throw down my nets
into the water he walks
i loose the fish
he feeds to cities
and everyone calls me
an old name
as i follow out
laughing like God’s fool
behind this Jesus

won’t you celebrate with me

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Lucille Clifton: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.