Yes, more Gwendolyn Brooks.

Below, one of Gwendolyn Brooks’ soldier sonnets from the sequence “Gay Chaps at the Bar”, published in her first collection, the amazing A Street in Bronzeville. Harper has recently reprinted her Selected Poems in a beautiful slim paperback. Please get it/read it already or I’ll keep posting stuff.

Gwendolyn Brooks: The Progress

And still we wear our uniforms, follow
The cracked cry of the bugles, comb and brush
Our pride and prejudice, doctor the sallow
Initial ardor, wish to keep it fresh.
Still we applaud the President’s voice and face.
Still we remark on patriotism, sing,
Salute the flag, thrill heavily, rejoice
For death of men who too saluted, sang.
But inward grows a soberness, an awe,
A fear, a deepening hollow through the cold.
For even if we come out standing up
How shall we smile, congratulate: and how
Settle in chairs? Listen, listen. The step
Of iron feet again. And again wild.


The Crazy Woman

As I might have said before, one of my favorite poets.

Gwendolyn Brooks: The Crazy Woman

I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I’ll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.

I’ll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I’ll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly.

And all the little people
Will stare at me and say,
“That is the Crazy Woman
Who would not sing in May.”

We / Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks: We Real Cool

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

a contenporary classic. This is probably Gwendolyn Brooks’ most well known poem. Brooks herself is one of last century’s best American poets. Read her Selected Poems, please.