Poems of Alice Walker

Some days, second hand book shops are just full of treasures. I discovered Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning and was so entranced by Alice Walker’s poems that I read the whole thing through in one sitting. Below are two of my favourites.


He said: Here is my soul
I did not want his soul
but I am a Southerner
and very polite.
I took it lightly
as it was offered. But did not
chain it down.
I loved it and tended
it. I would hand it back
as good as new.

 He said: How dare you want
my soul! Give it back!
How greedy you are!
It is a trait
I had not noticed

I said: But your soul
never left you. It was only
a heavy thought from
your childhood
passed to me for safekeeping.

But he never believed me.
Until the end
he called me possesive
and held his soul
so tightly
it shrank
to fit his hand.

Did This Happen to Your Mother?
Did Your Sister Throw Up a Lot?

I love a man who is not worth
my love.
Did this happen to your mother?
Did your grandmother wake up
for no good reason
in the middle of the night?

I thought love could be controlled.
It cannot.
Onl behaviour can be controlled.
By biting your tongue purple
rather than speak.
Mauling your lips.
Obliterating his number
too thoroughly
to be able to phone.

Love has made me sick.

Did your sister throw up a lot?
Did your cousin complain
of a painful knot
in her back?
Did you aunt always
seem to have something else
troubling her mind?

I thought love would adapt itself
to my needs.
But needs grow too fast;
they come up like weeds.
Through cracks in the conversation.
Through silences in the dark.
Through everything you thought was concrete.

Such needful love has to be chopped out
or forced to wilt back,
poisoned by disapproval
from its own soil.

This is bad news, for the conservationist.

My hand shakes before this killing.
My stomach sits jumpy in my chest.My chest is the Grand Canyon
sprawled empty
over the world.

Whoever he is, he is not worth all this.

And I will never
unclench my teeth long enough
to tell him so.



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23 responses to “Poems of Alice Walker

  1. Dew

    I especially enjoyed the second one.

  2. I like them too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love Alice Walker. I saw her speak a long time ago at my University.

  4. J.S. Peyton

    I especially love this line from the second poem:

    “But needs grow too fast;
    they come up like weeds.
    Through cracks in the conversation.”

    Evocative image. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’m not one for poetry but those are really good!

  6. I found that book the same way, and love it too!

  7. I am A yuong adult ant reading Ms alice’s poems inspirid me to write. they are bueatifully writen .

  8. Santhi Sharma

    Alice Walker is my all time favurite author and I often remember her deep and powerful words in times of angst or conflict. Her poems are as simple, beautiful and evocative as her fiction.

  9. Candelaria Maxwell

    I enjoyed both poems, although I preferred the first to the second. I thought it was interesting how one poem seemed to be about sharing while the other was about withholding. I think that it’s a good idea to be able to tell the difference between the two situations.

  10. Nicole

    I had to read the second poem in english this year. I’ve always hated poetry and not been able to understand it. But after reading this I have a new found love for it.

  11. deidra

    i love the 2nd one it was really good!:)

  12. kaitlyn

    isn’t onl supposed 2 b only?

  13. Suganya

    Please send the summary of the poem The Gift

  14. courtney waggoner

    Yes they are very good poems. I love poetry!!!!!!!!!!!:)

  15. vesha.jones

    i love alice walker did a report made an A yay me

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  18. What is she saying in first poem… was the first stanza about innocence in love.. or childish love.. wt abt the final stanza..
    i dont get it… can some one explain it?

  19. devi rathnam

    I could not get the full meaning of the poem easily.

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  21. kavitha sree

    what is given as a gift ls not important

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