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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Poems For The Human Spirit

“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.” – Nikki Giovanni
 
Born on this date in 1943, Giovanni is an essayist, commentator, activist, and educator, and one of the world's best known African-American poets.  Her work includes anthologies, recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children's literature.  Among her myriad awards are the Langston Hughes Medal, the NAACP Image Award, finalist for a Grammy for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, and being honored as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 "Living Legends.”      One of Giovanni’s most poignant poems was her tribute to Robert F. Kennedy, written just days after his assassination 50 years ago this week.  Here, for Saturday’s Poem, is Giovanni’s,  
 
 A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Trees are never felled . . . in summer . . . Not when the fruit . . .
is yet to be borne . . . Never before the promise . . . is fulfilled . . .
Not when their cooling shade . . . has yet to comfort . . .

Yet there are those . . . unheeding of nature . . . indifferent to
ecology . . . ignorant of need . . . who . . . with ax and sharpened
saw . . . would . . . in boots . . . step forth damaging . . .

Not the tree . . . for it falls . . . But those who would . . . in
summer's heat . . . or winter's cold . . . contemplate . . . the
beauty . . .


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