“Untitled” by Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton


surely I am able to write poems
celebrating grass and how the blue
in the sky can flow green or red
and the waters lean against the
chesapeake shore like familiar
love poems about nature and landscape
surely but whenever I begin
“the trees wave their knotted branches
and …” god
there is always under that poem
an other poem

from Rattle #18, Winter 2002


Lucille Clifton: “I never thought about being a poet, because I never saw anybody like me that was, or that could be. I never thought about being published. That wasn’t among the things that were possible for me at that time. And still my way of expressing myself, I discovered, was through poems. I wrote answers to Emily Dickinson. I wrote sonnets. But I’ve never been good at titles so they were ‘Sonnets the First,’ ‘Sonnets the Second,’ and so forth. I learned how to write poems. I wrote my way toward figuring out, and read my way as well.”

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