Wednesday, June 10, 2009

for gloria douglass johnson (6)

for gloria douglass johnson
her life was dwarfed, and wed to blight,
her very days were shades of night,
her every dream was born entombed,
her soul, a bud,--that never bloomed.
from "foredoomed….”
so sad so many of yr poems,
but u reaped no fell felicity in
sadness, nor in stifled creative

spirit or in a woman’s perennial
subservience. u bore the double

cross bravely, its transverse

pieces -- the personal modesty of

wifedom & gravely maudlin

motherhood -- its upright piece --

yr calling as a teacher -- made
fitful furrows in the ground as it

drug through yr shadow behind

u. yet dared u sneak away from

yr safe narrow nest:
to write rhapsodically
lyrical verse, in quatrains,
sonnets, iambic heptameter,
with an unpretentious spirit;
to nurture harlem’s luminous
lights in yr poetic halfway
house; yr “s” street salon.
langston hughes, alain locke,
angelina weld grimké, jean

toomer & countee cullen, yr

regular saturday nighters, as

were louis alexander, gwen
bennett, marita bonner, jessie

redmon fauset & zora neale
hurston – yr great heart san-
their feet & sent them
forth, yr sons full of bronze

& brawn & potency; yr
haloed & honored.
u did not
die while u loved
them, but
loved them until
u died, giving
so much of
yrself & so much
more than
cadenced words.

Joseph McNair;2009

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