by Gwendolyn Brooks

Page 6

Oh, it's been banned here and there because, because somebody wrote to the library and asked that I find books with poems featuring handicapped people for a conference that was going to feature handicapped people. So I decided I was going to try to write such a poem myself. I have a certain way of feeling about handicapped people. I feel that we're all handicapped to some degree and some dimension, so under the title I wrote "For handicapped all":

Everbody here
is infirm.
Everybody here is infirm.
Oh. Mend me. Mend me. Lord.

Today I
say to them
say to them
say to them, Lord:
look! I am beautiful, beautiful with
my wing that is wounded
my eye that is bonded
or my ear not funded
or my walk all a-wobble.
I'm enough to be beautiful.

You are
beautiful too.

And I hope that every last of you believes that about yourself. I'm going to offer a poem called "The Contemplation of Suicide: The Temptation of Timothy." I saw a television film about a year ago, I'm sure many of you saw it, too. It was much heralded, very nicely crafted. It was about a young couple in their late teens who loved each other, loved each other very much. Nobody understood. Their parents didn't understand, other elders didn't understand, so they decided to kill themselves so they could be together forever. And I hope I don't sound cruel, or cold, or mean. And I know that there are many varieties of reasons for this act. I'm not fitted to deal with this phenomenon. I'm not a psychiatrist. I felt, however, as I looked at that picture, "Such a waste." Their reasons didn't seem to have any quality at all. I'd just like to say, this is preaching, of course, I'd just like to say to young people who might be think about doing away with themselves, feeling they're not important, that they have nothing to give. Well, you do have something to give, so just stay here and smile. People are always saying, "You don't have to talk about your poems so much." But see, if all you want to do is read them, then you can do that for yourselves. You can get a book, one without any commentary from me, one with just the poems and no prosy part, and read what I've written. But I feel you go to the trouble of inviting me to do this, so you ought to get a little something extra. And I am only too happy to give it.

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