sorrows

By Lucille Clifton 1936–2010 Lucille Clifton
who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautiful         who would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin


sometimes we hear them in our dreams
rattling their skulls         clicking their bony fingers

envying our crackling hair
our spice filled flesh


they have heard me beseeching
as I whispered into my own

cupped hands       enough not me again
enough       but who can distinguish

one human voice   
amid such choruses of desire

Source: Poetry (September 2007).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2007
 Lucille  Clifton

Biography

A prolific and widely respected poet, Lucille Clifton's work emphasizes endurance and strength through adversity, focusing particularly on African-American experience and family life. Awarding the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to Clifton in 2007, the judges remarked that “One always feels the looming humaneness around Lucille Clifton’s poems—it is a moral quality that some poets have and some don’t.” In addition to the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism

Poetic Terms Imagery, Metaphor, Refrain

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

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.