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Welcome to the Mississippi Poetry Walk!

I Want to Write

I want to write
I want to write the songs of my people.
I want to hear them singing melodies in the dark.
I want to catch the last floating strains from their sob-torn

I want to frame their dreams into words; their souls into

I want to catch their sunshine laughter in a bowl;
fling dark hands to a darker sky
and fill them full of stars
then crush and mix such lights till they become
a mirrored pool of brilliance in the dawn.

Margaret Walker 


I Worried

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Mary Oliver




Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!

You really are beautiful! Pearls,

harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all

the stuff they’ve always talked about


still makes a poem a surprise!

These things are with us every day

even on beachheads and biers. They

do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.


Frank O’Hara


Heavenly Grass


My feet took a walk in heavenly grass.

All day while the sky shone clear as glass.

My feet took a walk in heavenly grass,

All night while the lonesome stars rolled past.

Then my feet come down to walk on earth,

And my mother cried when she give me birth.

Now my feet walk far and my feet walk fast

But they still got an itch for heavenly grass.

But they still got an itch for heavenly grass.


Tennessee Williams


Four Haiku


As day tumbles down,

The setting sun’s signature

Is written in red.


How it is bristling

Towards that big brassy sun,

This one sunflower.

Does the snail know that

The green leaf on which it sleeps

Is obeying the wind?


Raindrops are tilting

Pink from magnolias

In the setting sun.


Richard Wright



Naming the Heartbeats


I’ve become the person who says Darling, who says Sugarpie,
Honeybunch, Snugglebear—and that’s just for my children.
What I call my husband is unprintable. You’re welcome. I am
his sweetheart, and finally, finally—I answer to his call and his
alone. Animals are named for people, places, or perhaps a little
Latin. Plants invite names for colors or plant-parts. When you
get a group of heartbeats together you get names that call out
into the evening’s first radiance of planets: a quiver of cobras,
a maelstrom of salamanders, an audience of squid, or an ostentation
of peacocks. But what is it called when creatures on this earth curl
and sleep, when shadows of moons we don’t yet know brush across
our faces? And what is the name for the movement we make when
we wake, swiping hand or claw or wing across our face, like trying
to remember a path or a river we’ve only visited in our dreams?


Aimee Nezhukumatathil