A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
There were bizarre beginnings in old lands for the making
of me. There were sugar sands and islands of fern and
pearl, palm jungles and stretches of a never-ending sea.
There were the wooing nights of tropical lands and the cool
discretion of flowering plains between two stalwart
hills. They nurtured my coming with wanderlust. I
sucked fevers of adventure through my veins with my
Someday I shall go to the tropical lands of my birth, to the
coasts of continents and the tiny wharves of island
shores. I shall roam the Balkans and the hot lanes of
Africa and Asia. I shall stand on mountain tops and
gaze on fertile homes below.
And when I return to Mobile I shall go by the way of
Panama and Bocas del Toro to the littered streets and
the one-room shacks of my old poverty, and blazing suns
of other lands may struggle then to reconcile the pride
and pain in me.
Reprinted from the Internet Poetry Archive sponsored by the University of North Carolina Press. For educational use only.
Margaret Walker (1915 – 1998) was an American poet and writer born in Birmingham, Alabama. She was part of the African-American literary movement in Chicago. Her notable works include the award-winning poem For My People (1942) and the novel Jubilee (1966), set in the South during the American Civil War.