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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Poem of the Week: What My Child Learns of the Sea


As we transition from Black History Month to Women's History Month, the voice of Audre Lorde seems the perfect complement to the moment. Strong, inimitable, resonant. Lorde was a poet and a librarian. She fought for women's rights, for civil rights, and much more, and like many other poets, but in her own way, she blends the personal and the political in her language. What does it mean to be a mother, to look at the world with its seasons, its sensations, its threats and struggles and send your child forth? I share with you here my favorite of Audre Lorde's poems.


What My Child Learns of the Sea


What my child learns of the sea

Of the summer thunder

Of the bewildering riddle that hides at the vortex of spring

She will learn in my twilight

And childlike

Revise every autumn


What my child learns

As her winters fall out of time

Ripened in my own body

To enter her eyes with first light


This is why

More than blood,

Or the milk I have given

One day a strange girl will step

To the back of a mirror

Cutting my ropes

Of sea and thunder and sun.

Of the way she will taste her autumns-

Toast-brittle, or warmer than sleep

And the words she will use for winter

I stand already condemned.


- Audre Lorde

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