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Testament

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child,
in the august of your life
you come barefoot to me
the blisters of events
having worn through to the
soles of your shoes.

it is not the time
this is not the time

there is no such time
to tell you
that some pains ease away
on the ebb & toll of
themselves.
there is no such dream that
can not fail, nor is hope our
only conquest.
we can stand boldly in burdening places (like earth here)
in our blunderings, our bloomings
our palms, flattened upward or pressed,
an unyielding down.

Carolyn  M. Rodgers, "Testament" from The Heart as Ever Green. Copyright © 1978 by Carolyn  M. Rodgers. Used by permission of Doubleday, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Heart As Ever Green (Doubleday, 1978)
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Testament

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  • Carolyn M. Rodgers grew up on Chicago’s South Side. She attended Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago, and received her MA in English from the University of Chicago. Early in her career she was associated with the Black Arts Movement, attending writing workshops led by Gwendolyn Brooks and through the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC). Her collections of poetry include Paper Soul (1968); Songs of a Blackbird (1969), which won the Poet Laureate Award of the Society of Midland Authors; how I got ovah: New and Selected Poems (1975); The Heart as Ever Green: Poems (1978); and Morning Glory: Poems (1989). 
     
    Rodgers’s poetry addresses feminist issues, including the role of black women in society, though her work has evolved from a militant stance to one more focused on the individual and Christianity. In addition to poetry, she has written plays, short stories, and essays. She worked...

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