By Nikki Giovanni

poetry is motion graceful
as a fawn
gentle as a teardrop
strong like the eye
finding peace in a crowded room
we poets tend to think
our words are golden
though emotion speaks too
loudly to be defined
by silence
sometimes after midnight or just before
the dawn
we sit typewriter in hand
pulling loneliness around us
forgetting our lovers or children
who are sleeping
ignoring the weary wariness
of our own logic
to compsoe a poem
no one understands it
it never says “love me” for poets are
beyond love
it never says “accept me” for poems seek not
acceptance but controversy
it only says “i am” and therefore
i concede that you are too
a poem is pure energy

horizontally contained 

between the mind 

of the poet and the ear of the reader

if it does not sing discard the ear 

for poetry is song

if it does not delight discard

the heart for poetry is joy 

if it does not inform then close 

off the brain for it is dead

if it cannot heed the insistent message

that life is precious

which is all we poets 

wrapped in our loneliness
are trying to say

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni, Jr.,(born June 7, 1943) is an American writer, commentator, activist, and educator. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech.

PHOTO: Nikki Giovanni, 1980.

…and a happy June 7th birthday to Nikki Giovanni.