I do not think this love will last till Spring, It was in wombs and tombs and cellars carved And trained, like Ivy, on dank walls to cling, Lacing two souls that had been too long starved. Excluding air and sun and wind and rain, Bent on destroying someone’s muttered curse, We tightly plaited dammed-up dreams with pain And now the ebb-tide wills us wounds to nurse. The year’s first crocus will be our death knell; The song of the first robin will incite The thawing, waxing, sunlight to repel A love that cannot turn away from night.
Poet and playwright Hazel Crawley was born in Newark and served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. These lines are from her 1975 collection Erratica.
God of my fathers, Please accept these lips You flattened on my face With your long kiss; These lips that lose their way Around your name… Accept these eyes Which cannot pierce the veil Bonded like plywood For three-hundred years.
I claim you kin By virtue of the fact That the Sun’s love Was burned into my genes Not to curse Ham, But to caress a soul Which can create Black, tan, beige joy And fling it in the face Of Blue-eyed Death
I claim you kin By virtue of the fact That I can translate Hell Into a Spiritual; Can ‘make a joyful noise’ Before the tree of death; Before the polls Scylla And Charybdis guard With charred perversions Of their Son-of-God.
I claim you kin By virtue of the fact That I shall walk again Through the White Sea, A child from your Black Phallus on each hand, Another…as a smile Within my eyes, Into the fecund womb Of man’s birth-rights. There is no death Can alter me from this.
Then…only then, When all our sons are men And not the petty Function of their skins, I want to lie Ten-thousand miles removed And hear my brother Oozing through the brush At break of day, Plucking our lunch, Which stands upon four legs, From throbbing life.
Poet and playwright Hazel Crawley was a Newark native. “Taproots” appeared in her collection Erratica in 1975.