Advice to a Prophet- Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios &More

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15485

Advice to a Prophet
by Richard Wilbur

When you come, as you soon must, to the streets of our city,
Mad-eyed from stating the obvious,
Not proclaiming our fall but begging us
In God’s name to have self-pity,
Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind;
Our slow, unreckoning hearts will be left behind,
Unable to fear what is too strange.
Nor shall you scare us with talk of the death of the race.
How should we dream of this place without us?–
The sun mere fire, the leaves untroubled about us,
A stone look on the stone’s face?
Speak of the world’s own change. Though we cannot conceive
Of an undreamt thing, we know to our cost
How the dreamt cloud crumbles, the vines are blackened by frost,
How the view alters. We could believe,
If you told us so, that the white-tailed deer will slip
Into perfect shade, grown perfectly shy,
The lark avoid the reaches of our eye,
The jack-pine lose its knuckled grip
On the cold ledge, and every torrent burn
As Xanthus once, its gliding trout
Stunned in a twinkling. What should we be without
The dolphin’s arc, the dove’s return,
These things in which we have seen ourselves and spoken?
Ask us, prophet, how we shall call
Our natures forth when that live tongue is all
Dispelled, that glass obscured or broken
In which we have said the rose of our love and the clean
Horse of our courage, in which beheld
The singing locust of the soul unshelled,
And all we mean or wish to mean.
Ask us, ask us whether with the worldless rose
Our hearts shall fail us; come demanding
Whether there shall be lofty or long standing
When the bronze annals of the oak-tree close.

POEMS

http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/angelou/poems-ma.html

Ain’t That Bad?

by Maya Angelou

Dancin’ the funky chicken
Eatin’ ribs and tips
Diggin’ all the latest sounds
And drinkin’ gin in sips.

Puttin’ down that do-rag
Tighten’ up my ‘fro
Wrappin’ up in Blackness
Don’t I shine and glow?

Hearin’ Stevie Wonder
Cookin’ beans and rice
Goin’ to the opera
Checkin’ out Leontyne Price.

Get down, Jesse Jackson
Dance on, Alvin Ailey
Talk, Miss Barbara Jordan
Groove, Miss Pearlie Bailey.

Now ain’t they bad?
An ain’t they Black?
An ain’t they Black?
An’ ain’t they Bad?
An ain’t they bad?
An’ ain’t they Black?
An’ ain’t they fine?

Black like the hour of the night
When your love turns and wriggles close to your side
Black as the earth which has given birth
To nations, and when all else is gone will abide.

Bad as the storm that leaps raging from the heavens
Bringing the welcome rain
Bad as the sun burning orange hot at midday
Lifting the waters again.

Arthur Ashe on the tennis court
Mohammed Ali in the ring
Andre Watts and Andrew Young
Black men doing their thing.

Dressing in purples and pinks and greens
Exotic as rum and Cokes
Living our lives with flash and style
Ain’t we colorful folks?

Now ain’t we bad?
An’ ain’t we Black?
An’ ain’t we Black?
An’ ain’t we bad?
An’ ain’t we bad?
An’ ain’t we Black?
An’ ain’t we fine?”