I couldn’t choose just one poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. I couldn’t even just choose two. In the end I stopped trying to choose, and here is a whole pile.
Of Robert Frost
There is a little lightning in his eyes.
Iron at the mouth.
His brows ride neither too far up nor down.
He is splendid. With a place to stand.
Some glowing in the common blood.
Some specialness within.
To Be In Love
To be in love
Is to touch things with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A Cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
Shuts a door —
Is not there —
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth,
to touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.
is merry glory.
Yet grips his right of twisting free.
Has a long reach,
In the eye of the vulture
In the Compression —
In mud and blood and sudden death —
In the breath
Of the holocaust he
Is helmsman, hatchet, headlight.
One restless in the exotic time! and ever,
Till the air is cured of its fever.
My Little ‘Bout-Town Gal
Roger of Rhodes
My little ’bout-town gal has gone
‘Bout town with powder and blue dye
On her pale lids and on her lips
Dye sits quite carminely.
I’m scarcely healthy-hearted or human.
What can I teach my cheated Woman?
My Tondeleyo, my black blonde
Will not be homing soon.
None shall secure her save the late the
Detective fingers of the moon.
The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till
after the murder,
after the burial
Emmett’s mother is a pretty-faced thing;
the tint of pulled taffy.
She sits in a red room,
drinking black coffee.
She kisses her killed boy.
And she is sorry.
Chaos in windy grays
through a red prairie.