What I Have Shaped into a Kind of Life


won't you celebrate with me

by Lucille Clifton, from The Book of Light

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.


From Baltimore Sun’s blog, Read Street today: Former state poet laureate and National Book Award winner Lucille Clifton died Saturday at age 73, after a long battle with cancer and other illnesses. Her obituary in the Baltimore Sun noted that the long-time Columbia resident was known for a mix of profundity, earthiness and humor in her 11 books of poetry…At Poets.org you can read some of her poems, including "blessing the boats," and hear her provocative voice reading "homage to my hips."