Saturday, December 11, 2010


(Judy Grahn, January 1988, Oakland CA, photo by Robert Giard)

Every Saturday evening I post a Judy Grahn poem. Much of her best work is already up here (check Labels to the right for her name) but there is still a wealth more to share. If she'd been a straight white man, they'd have declared her poet laureate a long time ago -- but then she wouldn't be writing the stunning language that she does.

a funeral
plainsong from a younger woman to an older woman

i will be your breath now, to do your singing
breath belongs to those who do the breathing
warm life, as it passes through your fingers
flares up in the very hands you will be leaving

you have left, what is left
for the bond between women is a circle
we are together within it

i am your best, i am your kind
kind of my kind, i am your wish
wish of my wish, i am your breast
breast of my breast, i am your mind
mind of my mind, i am your flesh
i am your kind, i am your wish
kind of my kind, i am your best

now you have left you can be
wherever the fire is when it blows itself out.
now you are a voice in any wind
i am a single wind
now you are any source of a fire
i am a single fire

wherever you go to, i will arrive
whatever i have been, you will come back to
wherever you leave off, i will inherit
whatever i resurrect, you shall have it

you have right, what is right
for the bond between women is returning
we are endlessly within it
and endlessly apart within it.
it is not finished
it will not be finished

i will be your heart now, to do your loving
love belongs to those who do the feeling.

life, as it stands so still among your fingers
beats in my hands, the hands i will, believing
that you have become she, who is not, any longer
somewhere in particular

you are together in your stillness
you have wished us a bonded life

love of my love, i am your breast
arm of my arm, i am your strength
breath of my breath, i am your foot
thigh of my thigh, back of my back
eye of my eye, beat of my beat
kind of my kind, i am your best

when you are dead, i said you had gone to the mountain

the trees do not yet speak of you

© Judy Grahn, from The Work Of A Common Woman

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