Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remembering June Jordan

On this meridian of failure or recovery
I move
or stop respectful
of each day
but silent now
and slow
June Jordan
First Poem after Surgery
At the moment I am enjoying the poetry of June Jordan who is one of the most widely published African- American poets and writers. Jordan was a tireless activist against injustice and oppression, as well as prolific poet, writer and essayist.
Poem for South African Women

Commemoration of the 40,000 women and children who, 
August 9, 1956, presented themselves in bodily protest against 
the “dompass” in the capital of apartheid. Presented at The 
United Nations, August 9, 1978.

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea

we are the ones we have been waiting for

from Passion (1980)
and from Directed by Desire. The Collected Poems of June Jordan.
Copyright 2005 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust

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