Lineage

By Margaret Walker 1915–1998 Margaret Walker
My grandmothers were strong.
They followed plows and bent to toil.
They moved through fields sowing seed.
They touched earth and grain grew.
They were full of sturdiness and singing.
My grandmothers were strong.

My grandmothers are full of memories
Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay
With veins rolling roughly over quick hands
They have many clean words to say.
My grandmothers were strong.
Why am I not as they?

Margaret Walker, “Lineage” from This is My Century: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 1989 by Margaret Walker. Reprinted by permission of University of Georgia Press.

Source: This is My Century: New and Collected Poems (University of Georgia Press, 1989)

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

Poet Margaret Walker 1915–1998

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

 Margaret  Walker

Biography

When For My People by Margaret Walker won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1942, "she became one of the youngest Black writers ever to have published a volume of poetry in this century," as well as "the first Black woman in American literary history to be so honored in a prestigious national competition," noted Richard K. Barksdale in Black American Poets between Worlds, 1940-1960. Walker's first novel, Jubilee, is . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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.