Sing a Black Girl’s Song: Kicking off National Poetry Month

In honor of it being National Poetry Month, I have decided to kick off the month with one of my favorite poems. “Dark Phases” by Ntozake Shange was brought back to life earlier this year with the movie “For Colored Girls” and is a rich, rich rich poem. This was my introduction to Shange’s work and I remember reading this with my mouth open. There is such beauty and truth in her words. Such power in her prose. Please enjoy:

dark phrases of womanhood
of never havin been a girl
half-notes scattered
without rhythm/ no tune
distraught laughter fallin
over a black girl’s shoulder
it’s funny/ it’s hysterical
the melody-less-ness of her dance
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
she’s dancin on beer cans & shingles

this must be the spook house
another song with no singers
lyrics/no voices
& interrupted solos
unseen performances

are we ghouls?
children of horror?
the joke?

don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
are we animals? have we gone crazy?

i can’t hear anythin
but maddening screams
& the soft strains of death
& you promised me
you promised me…
somebody/anybody
sing a black girl’s song
bring her out
to know herself
to know you
but sing her rhythms
carin/struggle/hard times

sing her song of life
she’s been dead so long
closed in silence so long
she doesn’t know the sound
of her own voice
her infinite beauty
she’s half-notes scattered
without rhythm/no tune
sing her sighs
sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
the makin of a melody
let her be born
let her be born
& handled warmly.

5 thoughts on “Sing a Black Girl’s Song: Kicking off National Poetry Month

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