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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nikki Giovanni Poem Spotlight Poetry

Here is one of my favorite poems by Nikki Giovanni. It speaks to me in such a profound way. I hope you enjoy it.

Mothers by Nikki Giovanni

the last time i was home
to see my mother we kissed
exchanged pleasantries
and unpleasantries pulled a warm
comforting silence around
us and read separate books
i remember the first time
i consciously saw her
we were living in a three room
apartment on burns avenue
mommy always sat in the dark
i don’t know how i knew that but she did
that night i stumbled into the kitchen
maybe because i’ve always been
a night person or perhaps because i had wet
the bed
she was sitting on a chair
the room was bathed in moonlight diffused through
those thousands of panes landlords who rented
to people with children were prone to put in windows
she may have been smoking but maybe not
her hair was three-quarters her height
which made me a strong believer in the samson myth
and very black
i’m sure i just hung there by the door
i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady
she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you
a poem: i see the moon
the moon sees me
god bless the moon
and god bless me”

i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains

Legacies by Nikki Giovanni

her grandmother called her from the playground  
       “yes, ma’am”
       “i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old   
woman proudly
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less   
dependent on her spirit so
she said
       “i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
       these children”
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does


What poem makes you think about your mother or grandmother?


  1. "Legacies" reminds me of my late mother and her unbelievably delicious biscuits! Many, many times I watched as she made them, but I never learned how. Maybe I wanted it to be only hers and to give me another wonderful memory!!

  2. I cant recall a poem that reminds me of my mother or grandmother besides the ones I written for them as a teen. I love langston Hughes, Life ain't been no crystal stair. my great granny can recite that so well, you feel her years of sorrow, pain and life goodness too.

  3. I love both poems! Nikki Giovanni's words certainly move me a lot.


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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at and You may contact me via email at:

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