“We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for.”
-June Jordan, Poem for South African Women
Poem on

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea

we are the ones we have been waiting for

June Jordan was born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrants during 1936. If you are unfamiliar with her, discover your own Jordan through her poetry and essays.

This poem routinely picks me up from my frustrations over having agency of my identity. I’m sharing this because I am currently having a moment of displeasure and unease. Poem For South African Women represents what I believe to be true in my experiences as a Black woman.We find power in validating ourselves and affirming each other. Whereas celebrities or scholars (reflexively myself, too) emphasize the relevance or importance of what’s been marginalized, we already knew it’s worth or knew someone who did. If we didn’t, we affirmed it, which is more than acknowledging and arguing for equal footing or recognition. It’s hailing the beauty of difference in difference.


One thought on “Self-Love

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