A Woman Speaks

By Audre Lorde 1934–1992 Audre Lorde
Moon marked and touched by sun   
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.   
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love   
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus   
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities   
who am ageless and half-grown   
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths   
as our mother did
mourning.

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic   
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures   
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

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Poet Audre Lorde 1934–1992

Subjects Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Audre  Lorde

Biography

A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her poetry, and “indeed all of her writing,” according to contributor Joan Martin in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, “rings with passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling.” Concerned with modern . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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