We’ll start here, with “Southern Song” from Walker’s first poetry collection, For My People. Read and discuss! I’ll weigh in next week.
I want my body bathed again by southern suns, my soul
reclaimed again from southern land. I want to rest
again in southern fields, in grass and hay and clover
bloom; to lay my hand again upon the clay baked by a
southern sun, to touch the rain-soaked earth and smell
the smell of soil.
I want my rest unbroken in the fields of southern earth;
freedom to watch the corn wave silver in the sun and
mark the splashing of a brook, a pond with ducks and
frogs and count the clouds.
I want no mobs to wrench me from my southern rest; no
forms to take me in the night and burn my shack and
make for me a nightmare full of oil and flame.
I want my careless song to strike no minor key; no fiend to
stand between my body’s southern song–the fusion of
the South, my body’s song and me.
Margaret Walker, For My People
from This is My Century: New and Collected Poems, U of Georgia P, 1989