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  • Christina Quist

Waiting.

Poem for South African Women

Commemoration of the 40,000 women and children who, August 9, 1956, presented themselves in bodily protest against the “dompass” in the capital of apartheid. Presented at The United Nations, August 9, 1978. Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land into new dust that rising like a marvelous pollen will be fertile even as the first woman whispering imagination to the trees around her made for righteous fruit from such deliberate defense of life as no other still will claim inferior to any other safety in the world The whispers too they intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit now aroused they carousing in ferocious affirmation of all peaceable and loving amplitude sound a certainly unbounded heat from a baptismal smoke where yes there will be fire And the babies cease alarm as mothers raising arms and heart high as the stars so far unseen nevertheless hurl into the universe a moving force irreversible as light years traveling to the open eye And who will join this standing up and the ones who stood without sweet company will sing and sing back into the mountains and if necessary even under the sea we are the ones we have been waiting for from Passion (1980) and from Directed by Desire. The Collected Poems of June Jordan. Copyright 2005 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust


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