Poem for the Day: November 5th, 2021

the sonnet-ballad by Gwendolyn Brooks

Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.
He won't be coming back here any more.
Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew
When he went walking grandly out that door
That my sweet love would have to be untrue.
Would have to be untrue. Would have to court
Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange
Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)
Can make a hard man hesitate—and change.
And he will be the one to stammer, "Yes."
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?

Today’s poem is taken from “”Appendix to The Anniad: leaves from a loose-leaf war diary”, which first appeared in Annie Allen, published by Harper in 1949.

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) published more than twenty books of poetry during her lifetime, as well as works in other genres. She was the first Black woman named as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a post now referred to as Poet Laureate. Among numerous awards and accolades, she was the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Award. You can read more about her life and work here.

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