Tribute to Lucille Clifton
I want to give thanks to the dear woman who suffered so much. To her wisdom—like no other; to her presence—like no other.
I want to thank her for her humor, her memory, her stubbornness, her honesty, her grace, her anger.
She will walk along some river—where else?—and she will know her way home by how the air feels, by the wind.
There was nothing like her; there was no one like her. No one will cry mercy like her.
This is the poem of hers I am reading today, from The Book of Light.
in which my greater self rose up before me accusing me of my life with her extra finger whirling in a gyre of rage at what my days had come to. what, i pleaded with her, could i do, oh what could i have done? and she twisted her wild hair and sparked her wild eyes and screamed as long as i could hear her This. This. This.
Copyright © 2010 by Gerald Stern. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.
"it was a dream," from The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1992 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.