Thursday, April 29, 2021

Gwendolyn Brooks (#NationalPoetryMonth)


a song in the front yard

I've stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it's rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it's fine
How they don't have to go in at a quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George'll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate.)

But I say it's fine. Honest, I do.
And I'd like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

'a song in the front yard' is from Gwendolyn Brooks' first book of poems A Street in Bronzeville. Brooks was the Poet Laureate of Illinois from early in my childhood until her death in 2000 at 83. Bronzeville is a Black neighborhood on the near south side of Chicago. 

She's always been a favorite of mine.

Poem For A Thursday is a meme created by Jennifer at Holds Upon Happiness. 


  1. i like it also: it's simple enough to mean something...

    1. Yeah, there's no reason why a poem has to be obscure...though sometimes you wonder.

  2. I love this poem! Makes me want to read even more of her writing. :D

    1. I've always known of her, but there's a nice Library of America poets series selection that I return to again and again.