I am very thankful to see this story posted on the Writers Forum It gives me an opportunity to congratulate Miss Clifton until I can extend more direct praise.
I met Lucille Clifton in 1993 when I attended a symposium in San Francisco, Miss Clifton was one of the presenting poets. We met again the next summer at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Week where she was a staff poet. Lucille and I along with poet Patricia Jones Spears had a great time at Squaw Valley. ..and there were so many other people and memory from that workshop. Several years later, I heard her on the Radio and she said she was going to read a poem she had written for her own birthday because no one else was going to do it. Well, I did it and I published it in the Common Ancestry book. I hope by now she has seen it. I would like to share it here on the occasion of her receiving the Ruth Lilly Prize and in acknowledgement of Mother's Day.
Praise Poem For Lucille
(for Lucille Clifton, on her birthday 1996)
We have come to this
you, white-haired, golden-toned
you, great part our mother
several parts our sister,
some parts southern,
many parts northern,
your feet planted where your people stood.
A glint of Africa abides in your gleaming teeth;
a hint of India in your smiling eyes -
California riding the shadow
of your lifted brow.
We praise the light that shines from you.
We celebrate your joy.
Thanks AfriGeneas for continuing to bring forth the light.