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  • Writer's pictureTerry Pace

won’t you celebrate with me

won't you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.


Lucille Clifton (RIP 1936-2010) was a major American poet and a leader for women poets of color over the world. Clifton was the master of what is left unsaid and of sparsity. I wish I could learn from her how to be this way. Whenever I read this poem "won't you celebrate with me" I am left with a giant shot of hope and clarity, in-spite of the pain of seeing how everyday is life or death for most women of color in our country and world; but Clifton is strong, unhindered, unyielding in her love of life as she ends this poem with these words: "come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed."

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