By Jay Wright b. 1934 Jay Wright
Moonlight, if I sleep on this bank
and lay my head against your kiss,
I recognize the river’s sound.
Timeless me, all day I raise
my knife against the sugar cane,
sugar brute who takes my days for pay.
Sun glow in spring is crystal clean.
Sun glow north, sun glow south,
sun glow summer, sun glow fall.
The fall of sweetness weighs me.
Aribú of the sweetest god,
will this or what winter
be the longest sleep?
I serenade his green fingers,
his water’s magic, his boot in the earth,
the way he pulls the green crowns to light.
Aribú of the grainy god,
will this or what fall
be the desolation of our mother?
I serenade the return of even light
to her wrinkled face.
Moonlight, now I lie on the crown
of my own desire,
in the fall of the god,
the fall of the cane,
the fall of my own night.

Jay Wright, “Lundú” from Transfigurations: Collected Poems. Copyright © 2000 by Jay Wright.  Reprinted by permission of Jay Wright.

Source: Transfigurations: Collected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2000)

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Poet Jay Wright b. 1934

Subjects Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Jay  Wright


Frequently described as a “poet’s poet,” Jay Wright has quietly built an impressive career as one of America’s leading African-American voices. His work, praised for its evocative language, introspective tone, and mythological imagery, has won many honors, including the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, and Yale’s prestigious Bollingen Prize. Wright’s plays, essays, and poetry generally . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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