my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
I hold my honey and I store my bread   
In little jars and cabinets of my will.   
I label clearly, and each latch and lid   
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.   
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can tell when I may dine again.   
No man can give me any word but Wait,   
The puny light. I keep eyes pointed in;   
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt   
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume   
On such legs as are left me, in such heart   
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive   
To honey and bread old purity could love.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Source: Selected Poems (1963)

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Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

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 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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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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