Saturday, April 05, 2014

30 Poets/Day 5 - Ann Whitford Paul and Carole Boston Weatherford

Apparently in 30 Poets/30 Days history, the fifth day is reserved for gobsmackingly talented female poets who write with three names. Or it's a coincidence that Ann Whitford Paul and Carole Boston Weatherford ended up on the same day a year apart. (I suspect the latter!)

Ann Whitford Paul

Who-oo, Who-oo.
Owl takes off,
whispering long,
low, hooting vowels.
Who-oo, Who-oo!
down they float,
soft as feathers,
but Mouse and Mole
are not fooled.
They hide, knowing
behind Owl's vowels lurks
the hard consonant crack
of his hooked beak.

©2009 Ann Whitford Paul. All rights reserved.
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From a work in progress about the Tuskegee Airmen
Carole Boston Weatherford

Conflicts cross oceans, continents.
Bombers topple buildings,
Turn villages to rubble.
My love of country blazes
Bright as my love of flight.
We are itching to get into combat.

But how can America win
With one arm tied;
Black troops stuck
as second-class soldiers,
Barred from the skirmishes
Flaring in the skies.

William Hastie resigns his
War Department post, saying
The Air Corps has clipped our wings.
Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Asks why the Ninety-Ninth
Has not been deployed.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson,
Who never thought blacks should be pilots,
Visits Tuskegee to inspect the troops
And confer with our commander.
Stimson has a change of heart,
Declares us outstanding by any standard.

Then, the order comes,
The words I have waited
A year to hear: Move out!
Four hundred of us
from 99th Fighter Squadron
Boards train for New York
and the S. S. Mariposa—
a luxury liner turned troop ship—
across the Atlantic.
Jim Crow followed us to sea:
on deck, a rope separates
us from the white troops.
But we are flying too high to care.

© 2010 Carole Boston Weatherford. All rights reserved.
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Yesterday gave us poetry by X. J. Kennedy and Calef Brown. Tomorrow... Jorge Argueta and Jaime Adoff.

Click here for more information about this year's 30 Poets/30 Days, including ways to follow along.

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