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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Poem of the Week: Blessing the Boats



There is something of a feeling of simple smallness when looking at a Lucille Clifton poem like "blessing the boats," with its lower case letters, short lines, and direct address, but Clifton hardly stands simple and small in the poetic canon. Her collection "Blessing the Boats" won the National Book Award in 2000, and her work has done much to articulate the Black experience, as well as that of being a womanand, of course, simply a human. "blessing the boats" has always resonated with me for the beauty of its wish, the sense of standing at a horizon with support to buoy one forth. Perhaps one to utter at the harbor, looking out across the water with hope,


blessing the boats


(at St. Mary's)

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


- Lucille Clifton


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