Monday, April 05, 2010

Carole Boston Weatherford - Move Out!

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.

Carole Boston Weatherford wrote her first poem in first grade and has kept on writing since. That's a great thing for us, because now she keeps writing amazing book after amazing book. I love the way her books always resonate with me, give me insights into people not just tell me about them, and make me feel so personally involved even if the stories are far from my own experience.

Carole's books have won honors ranging from the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award to the NAACP Image Award to an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Award to a Caldecott Medal for illustrator Kadir Nelson (for Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom - an extraordinary book on every single level) and beyond. And I'm telling you, when your read her books you immediate know why - the way she uses words is something that, as an author, I aim for and as a reader and listener I lose myself in completely. Yes, I'm a fan... and I'm thrilled to have Carole Boston Weatherford here as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Re: Me by Calef Brown was yesterday's fun. Tomorrow... Cancion De Mango/Mango Song by Jorge Argueta. For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.

Today's poem fits nicely, I think, as an entry in Non-Fiction Monday (a kissing kin to Poetry Friday). This week, the roundup is over at the Lerner Publishing Group blog. It's well worth a look-see to see this side of the Kidlitosphere, too.


Carol Grannick said...

Goosebumps reading this...this will be another spectacular book by Carole that I'll be eager to read.

tanita✿davis said...

Jim Crow followed us to sea:
on deck, a rope separates
us from the white troops.
But we are flying too high to care.

...oh, yes.
Lovely. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm excited to hear this is a WIP!

Abby said...

Carole Boston Weatherford? Tuskeegee airmen? Sign me up! So excited to read the book when it comes out.

Thanks for posting this today!

Anonymous said...

cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i will really want to read one of his books!

K-Sue said...

I'm posting this halfway through the month - this is my favorite so far. Her book promises to be an important work.