A Note from Mel

Make the connection…

Ms. Lucille February 14, 2010

Filed under: People in the World of Art — anotefrommel @ 4:35 am
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Heartbreak on the eve of Valentine’s Day, mother poet, Lucille Clifton passed yesterday morning. I learned the beautiful poet and good woman had gone on via text message, an appropriately simple: “We have lost Lucille.” The message came from a poet who loves her as much as I do. I feel fortunate for the loving source who understands and feels the weight of such news.

When someone dies, we tend to use euphemisms like “passing on,” “giving up the ghost”, etc. But one euphemism that is inapplicable to the death of Ms. Clifton is “no longer with us.” Lucille’s smile, bravery, fearlessness and willingness to make war with a tempered voice will never ever leave those who knew her, those who met her, those who heard her read, or read her powerhouse poems. I always smiled whenever I saw an image of her; She looks so much like my maternal grandmother with her perfect brown complexion, round head and low gray haircut common to cancer fighters and survivors.

Lucille Clifton

My Maternal Grandmother

My grandmother born a year after Ms. Lucille lost her battle with colon cancer over 10 years ago; I loved that Lucille was winning and fiercely alive and with us.  So powerful was she when she wrote,

“Come let’s celebrate, that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.”

Alas, eventually, something does take over. We, who have loved her each for our own reasons, are all quieted by the loss of such a perfect spirit.

May you rest well, Mother Lucille. Your work here has been grand. Thank you with many, many tears and your bravery behind our pens.


On Lucille’s Rite of Passage

Filed under: People in the World of Art — anotefrommel @ 4:35 am
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On Lucille’s Rite of Passage

after Lucille Clifton, Motherpoet

(June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010)


My hands are weak.

Fingers heavy as ready breasts

for a full-bellied son.

I have no wisdom,

none greater than has dewed

from the dawn of your round

bones, mother cheeks

like the promise of pretty brown moles,

your low gray hair makes me proud

to know my tongue’s texture,

knowing for a being, both

black and female, all citrus is not sour,

most fruits will not be sweet.

We trust our ready buds to name

the difference, identify the bruises.

My eyes follow the dark paths

on the pale side, respect the wait

in my palms for the day I can say

your name the right way.

– Mel