Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clifton, Chard

Our swiss chard patch is growing like crazy, choking out the weeds that are supposed to choke out everything else. It's lovely. Deep red and delicate green. The baby leaves on their yellow-streaked stems. It's like a promise of things to come: abundance, verdancy.

So sad, then, and yet somehow appropriate that in this time of growth we have lost a poet who embodied abundance. Lucille Clifton wrote with an energy that overflowed from her poems and imbued her readers with joy. One of those rare poets, both accessible and accomplished. She will be missed.

cutting greens
by Lucille Clifton
curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black.
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

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