Skip to content →

mother tongue: babylon

our children will not remember a place

where the wind does not sleep at night like this,

at ease in the arms of trees.

they will know no waters

more lovely than these

where we, in our exile, weep.

though we are lovely,

we suffer from such loneliness,

the way even these moonlit waters would suffer

if only the blind stars looked on

night after night after night.

who could bear for long

the weight of such beauty as this?

from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010Find it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2012
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Lucille Clifton Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.