Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poetry Sunday: What I Believe

On the Diane Rehm Show on NPR last week, Diane and her guests had their monthly book discussion. This time their subject was National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming. It is a book for young adults, a memoir of the author, written in poetry form.

Ms. Woodson is African-American and she grew up in South Carolina and Brooklyn. Many of her memories as told through her poetry in the book have their roots in those places. 

I was particularly struck by one poem and it seemed especially appropriate for my featured poem of the week. 

What I Believe

by Jacqueline Woodson

I believe in God and evolution.
I believe in the Bible and the Qur'an.
I believe in Christmas and the New World.
I believe that there is good in each of us
  no matter who we are or what we believe in.
I believe in the words of my grandfather.
I believe in the city and the South
  the past and the present.
I believe in Black people and White people coming together.
I believe in nonviolence and "Power to the People."
I believe in my little brother's pale skin and 
  my own dark brown.
I believe in my sister's brilliance and the too-easy
  books I love to read.
I believe in my mother on a bus and Black people
  refusing to ride.
I believe in good friends and good food.

I believe in johnny pumps and jump ropes,
Malcolm and Martin, Buckeyes and Birmingham,
  writing and listening, bad words and good words -
I believe in Brooklyn!

I believe in one day and someday and this
  perfect moment called Now.

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