Lucille Clifton, “blessing the boats” … the hum of spiders: an anthology of works & words

lucille clifton pic
the hum of spiders:
an anthology
of works & words

Lucille Clifton

“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


Clifton’s poem, with its lip of understanding, echoes the deep tones and phrasings of many lines from Jalalu’l-din Rumi. The language of “blessing” is quite mystical: “may you kiss / the wind” … “may you / open your eyes to water”. The poem is a call to epiphany. None of this writing can be explained in the physical, yet the lines are full of the very real: face, fear, kiss, back, wind and eyes. And I am moved in this world of mine.

Each time I read this work – and I never tire of it – “this to that” is larger than the universe. That, for me, is the greatness of the piece.

A positive, determined voice in a negative world.

~ by samofthetenthousandthings on December 31, 2015.

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