by Gwendolyn Brooks

Page 2

I would like to think that all of our little black women subscribe to that and I told Aurelia, "Aurelia, I wish I had written that poem." So I thought it was a good way to begin. And I have my next offering called "Essential Black Women." I was asked to write a little calendar celebrating black women and I wrote this to precede a poem I had already written called "To Black Women," which will follow right after this prosy part:

Look at these women, they are clean-willed, they are adventurous, they are warm of heart, and clear of spirit. They are reasonable. They are sane. They subscribe to the beauty and nuturing potential of black family, and by black family I mean our entire range of categories. South Africa, the little babe just born in the South Bronx. These black women love us. They are not trying to wriggle out of our race. They do not decry nor revile new roads. They approve new roads of discovery, discovery founded on and referential to the nourishment of our past. And they understand that if we do not work with and warrent our black men, we are lost. These women know we cannot go into battle alone, no matter how muscular our weapons and our wit. They know we must review and respectfully remodel and extend our black men. These black women salute all that is rich and right and civil within us. And I salute them in my poem "To Black Women."


where there is cold silence--
no hallelujahs, no hurrahs at all, no handshakes,
no neon red or blue, no smiling faces--
Prevail across the editors of the world;
who are obsessed, self-honeying and self-crowned
in the seduced arena.

      It has been a
hard trudge, with fainting, bandaging and death.
There have been startling confrontations.
There have been tramplings. Tramplings
of monarchs and of other men.

But there remain large countries in your eyes.
Shrewd sun.
The civil balance.
The listening secrets.

And you create and train your flowers still.

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