By Pauli Murray
We are spendthrifts with words,
We squander them,
Toss them like pennies in the air–
Shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear.
But the slowly wrought words of love
and the thunderous words of heartbreak–
Those we hoard.
“Words.” Copyright 1970 by the Pauli Murray Foundation, from Dark Testament and Other Poems by Pauli Murray. Used by permission of the Liveright Publishing Corporation.
More By This Poet
To the Oppressors
Now you are strong
And we are but grapes aching with ripeness.
Squeeze from us all the brave life
Contained in these full skins.
But ours is a subtle strength
Potent with centuries of yearning,
Of being kegged and shut away
In dark forgotten places.
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
Listening in Deep Space
We've always been out looking for answers,
telling stories about ourselves,
searching for connection, choosing
to send out Stravinsky and whale song,
which, in translation, might very well be
our undoing instead of a welcome.
We launch satellites, probes, telescopes
unfolding like origami, navigating
geomagnetic storms, major disruptions.
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...