the rites for Cousin Vit

By Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000 Gwendolyn Brooks
Carried her unprotesting out the door.
Kicked back the casket-stand. But it can't hold her,
That stuff and satin aiming to enfold her,
The lid's contrition nor the bolts before.
Oh oh. Too much. Too much. Even now, surmise,
She rises in the sunshine. There she goes,
Back to the bars she knew and the repose
In love-rooms and the things in people's eyes.
Too vital and too squeaking. Must emerge.
Even now she does the snake-hips with a hiss,
Slops the bad wine across her shantung, talks
Of pregnancy, guitars and bridgework, walks
In parks or alleys, comes haply on the verge
Of happiness, haply hysterics. Is.

Gwendolyn Brooks, "the rites for Cousin Vit" from Blacks. Copyright © 1994
 by Gwendolyn Brooks.  Reprinted by permission of Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Fifth Edition (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 2005)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks 1917–2000

Subjects Living, Death, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.