Truth by Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was one of America’s foremost and most prolific black poets of the 20th century, and was the first black author to win a Pulitzer. There’s a long essay about her life and work on poetryfoundation.org.

Read literally, this is an appropriate poem for our dreary sunless days. Read allegorically as the dawning of the light of Truth, or even the Son, bringing with it knowledge, it is a challenge to face a new day. What is that new day, for Brooks? A day of racial equality? A day when the poor get their due, and no longer suffer at the hands of the wealthy?

truth

And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it
To sleep in the coolness
Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily
Over the eyes.

 

Quilts from the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Their quilts have been displayed all over the world – I saw them in Cleveland, once upon a day. See e.g. this article by the Smithsonian for more information and photos of these amazing women and their amazing quilt:

Gee’s Bend’s “eye-poppingly gorgeous” quilts, wrote New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman, “turn out to be some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced. Imagine Matisse and Klee (if you think I’m wildly exaggerating, see the show), arising not from rarefied Europe, but from the caramel soil of the rural South.”

 

geesbend_07-HousetopVariati
 

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