Audre Lorde

Artifact: Love Poem by Audre Lorde

Speak earth and bless me with what is richest

make sky flow honey out of my hips
rigid as mountains
spread over a valley
carved out by the mouth of rain.

And I knew when I entered her I was
high wind in her forests hollow
fingers whispering sound
honey flowed
from the split cup
impaled on a lance of tongues
on the tips of her breasts on her navel
and my breath
howling into her entrances
through lungs of pain.

Greedy as herring-gulls
or a child
I swing out over the earth
over and over

Identification: This poem was published in 1975 and was included in her book The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Lorde is a famous poet and is especially known for her works in feminism and how it relates with race and sexuality. She openly describes herself as a black feminist lesbian poet. Much like Alice Walker, Lorde’s criticism of 1960’s feminism, which catered primarily to white women while ignoring other privileges, led to the concept of womanism for black female scholars. Her work in understanding the influence in various identities helped ground our current understanding of intersectionality, which can be seen in her poetry.

Annotation: Love Poem is a brazenly honest (and beautiful) depiction of how Lorde sees her love life with women. Her description of the female body in relation to nature is a common metaphor, but it’s often used in celebration of their bodies or their sisters’ bodies in black feminism, not in application to female lovers or how they “bless [her] with what is richest.” Instead of discussing herself, she focuses the beauty of female bodies on her partners. This perspective of her race and sexuality can be seen in many of other poems, including Who Said It Was Simple where she notes, “But I who am bound by my mirror / as well as my bed / see causes in colour / as well as sex.” Just like June Jordan, sexuality, race, and gender are all important in Audre Lorde’s perspective on identity.

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