A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

By Nikki Giovanni b. 1943 Nikki Giovanni
Trees are never felled . . . in summer . . . Not when the fruit . . .   
is yet to be borne . . . Never before the promise . . . is fulfilled . . .   
Not when their cooling shade . . . has yet to comfort . . .

Yet there are those . . . unheeding of nature . . . indifferent to   
ecology . . . ignorant of need . . . who . . . with ax and sharpened   
saw . . . would . . . in boots . . . step forth damaging . . .

Not the tree . . . for it falls . . . But those who would . . . in
summer’s heat . . . or winter’s cold . . . contemplate . . . the   
beauty . . .

Nikki Giovanni, “A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy” from Those Who Ride the Night Winds. Copyright © 1983 by Nikki Giovanni. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (2003)

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Poet Nikki Giovanni b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Nature, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

 Nikki  Giovanni

Biography

Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets who reached prominence during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her unique and insightful poetry testifies to her own evolving awareness and experiences: from child to young woman, from naive college freshman to seasoned civil rights activist, from daughter to mother. Frequently anthologized, Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride and respect for family. Her . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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