Sadie and Maud

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
Maud went to college.   
Sadie stayed at home.   
Sadie scraped life
With a fine-tooth comb.

She didn’t leave a tangle in.   
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chits   
In all the land.

Sadie bore two babies   
Under her maiden name.   
Maud and Ma and Papa   
Nearly died of shame.

When Sadie said her last so-long   
Her girls struck out from home.   
(Sadie had left as heritage
Her fine-tooth comb.)

Maud, who went to college,   
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “Sadie and Maud” from Selected Poems. Reprinted by consent of Brooks Permissions.

Source: Selected Poems (1963)

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Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Home Life, Relationships

Poetic Terms Ballad

 Gwendolyn  Brooks


Gwendolyn Brooks was a highly regarded, much-honored poet, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Many of Brooks's works display a political consciousness, especially those from the 1960s and later, with several of her poems reflecting the civil . . .

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SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Home Life, Relationships

Poetic Terms Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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