Riehlife Poem-of-the-Day: “For Lucille Clifton & Progeny,” by Ruth-Miriam Garnett

Lucille Clifton was an American poet, writer, and educator from New York. Her poetry of African-American heritage and the female body gave insight and hope. Lucille was the first person in her family to finish high school and attend college. She started Howard University on scholarship as a drama major, but lost the scholarship two years later. Thus began her writing career. “Good Times,” her first book of poems, was published in 1969. She was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and served as Maryland’s Poet Laureate.

Read Lucille Clifton’s obituary written by Margalit Fox on February 17, 2010: “Poet Who Explored Intricacies of Black Lives, Dies at 73.”

Also read Ernie Wormwood’s fine piece “Driving Lucille Clifton.”

Here’s Ruth-Miriam Garnett’s homage to Lucille Clifton. –JGR

by Ruth-Miriam Garnett

To my poet friends,
and to those who inspire our words

We have lost our mother,
but then, not prior to
gaining life strands
she handed over to us.

And as we breathe,
copiously breed our words,
recall divine capacity
to raise up from stones

children, and with this,
know to drench ourselves
in what flows through
ancestral wombs, seeing to

the signing of our names.

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