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About this Poem 

“Many years ago I heard someone describe Aretha Franklin’s voice as the voice of God, which was an amazing thing to say. This meditation is my attempt at understanding why that statement struck me as profoundly true. In the end, Aretha’s voice is an aggregation of the choruses of the natural world—all of their harmony, complexity, and distinctiveness—and it is as close to the divine as I can imagine.”

—Crystal Williams

The Voice of God

          Poem for Aretha Franklin
 
 
when she opens her mouth
our world swells like dawn on the pond
when the sun licks the water & the jay garbles,
the whole quiet thing coming into tune,
the gnats, frogs, the dandelion pollen, the
pebbles & leaves & the whole world of us
sitting at the throat of the jay
dancing in the throat of the jay
all of us on the lip of the jay
singing doowop, doowop, do.

Copyright © 2018 by Crystal Williams. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 8, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Crystal Williams. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 8, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Crystal Williams

Crystal Williams

Crystal Williams is the author of four poetry collections, including Detroit as Barn (University of Washington Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Maine Book Award, and the Cleveland State Open Book Prize.

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