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By James C. Kilgore

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Additional resources for African Violet: Poem for a Black Woman

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But you have tested it in the laboratory of life; And I know once more its truth: If a tornado comes, Pray, Seek shelter, Lie down, And wait; The tornado will pass; It will not spin its black funnel forever above our lives. Page 64 Thank you, Helen, for loving truth, For strength to calmly face the night. Your new life gives blossoms hope; Yet I know that grief waits And may strike thunderous fear in my new peace, my rediscovered strength, my truthful love But if it does, I will pray, I will seek shelter; I will lie down and wait; I will let it pass; I will let the thunder pass, like the winds of a March night, like the snows of winter along the Great Lakes, like the sound of man-made kingdoms crumbling, like the arrogant and powerful men of Watergate I will let it pass.

I could take you to fields where your hands toiled with mine for a penny a cotton pound just a generation ago. But you have heard enough of blood and hate. You have heard enough of toil and pain. I see you now on Vogue And in the Fashion Fair. Stay here with me, if you will, in our mountain home Page 34 And bloom your velvet Diana strain forever in my sub-Saharan heart. Yet, if you prefer life in gardens around the earth If you prefer to live with the rose of Southern China Or the hibiscus of Western Nigeria, Then be free; Have dominion over the gardens around the earth, And bloom wherever you wish; But remember always the lessons of home, For some day or night, Time, our fathers tell us, shall be no more; And we shall be awakened by a great Tanzanian drum calling us home to that great garden in the sky Home to that nation Where one Chief reigns, And one tribe shall praise His name.

Page 59 The White Man Pressed the Locks Driving down the concrete artery, Away from the Smoky heart, Through the darkening, blighted body, Pausing at varicose veins, The white man pressed the locks on all the sedan's doors, Sped toward the white corpuscles in the white arms hugging the black city. Page 60 Nails I drove a nail into a new clean board For all the friends I'd harmed; I went to all my friends, Asked them to forgive, And they forgave; Each time a friend forgave, I drew a nail from the board.

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