Evening Poetry, March 24

Blessing the Boats
by Lucille Clifton

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

You can find this poem in Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000.

Evening Poetry, June 18

still there is mercy, there is grace

by Lucille Clifton

how otherwise

could i have come to this

marble spinning in space

propelled by the great

thumb of the universe?

how otherwise

could the two roads

of this tongue

converge into a single


how otherwise

could i, a sleek old


curl one day safe and still

beside You

at Your feet, perhaps,

but, amen, Yours.

You can find this poem in the collection Book of Light.

Evening Poetry, June 14

gloria mundi

by Lucille Clifton

so knowing,

what is known?

that we carry our baggage

in our cupped hands

when we burst through

the waters of our mother.

that some are born

and some are brought

to the glory of this world.

that it is more difficult

than faith

to serve only one calling

one commitment

one devotion

in one life.

You can find this poem in the collection The Book of Light.

Evening Poetry, May 22

homage to my hips

by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

pretty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

I have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top.

You can find this poem in Penguin’s Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.