Young Afrikans

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
of the furious


Who take Today and jerk it out of joint   
have made new underpinnings and a Head.   

Blacktime is time for chimeful
poemhood
but they decree a
jagged chiming now.

If there are flowers flowers
must come out to the road. Rowdy!—
knowing where wheels and people are,
knowing where whips and screams are,
knowing where deaths are, where the kind kills are.   

As for that other kind of kindness,
if there is milk it must be mindful.
The milkofhumankindness must be mindful   
as wily wines.
Must be fine fury.
Must be mega, must be main.

Taking Today (to jerk it out of joint)
the hardheroic maim the
leechlike-as-usual who use,
adhere to, carp, and harm.

And they await,
across the Changes and the spiraling dead,   
our Black revival, our Black vinegar,   
our hands, and our hot blood.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “Young Afrikans,” from Blacks (Chicago: Third World Press, 1987). Reprinted by consent of Brooks Permissions.

Source: Blacks (1987)

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Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Holidays Kwanzaa

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Gwendolyn  Brooks

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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