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Won’t You Celebrate With Me by Lucille Clifton

Hope is that stubborn thing inside us*—when I heard that today, I thought, how could one thing be so true?

Two months ago I was staring at what was left of all of me. I was so exhausted to go on. I said, Nothing brings me joy. I said, I can’t see the future anymore. I said, All of me is sad and wretched. I said, So much a fool.

And yet I’m breathing, now. I’m stronger, now.

Everywhere around me lives are starting again. Isn’t it funny and wonderful how we know nothing of what goes on with one another and yet somehow, in this space, it is as if I have been a witness to your pain and suffering, as much as you have been to mine? And now we are rising from the ashes or washing up on the shore. And now we are getting up after being beaten or blooming slowly, with the face turned towards the sun.

This is joy. Here it is: this tiny thing. Let us share it:

Won’t You Celebrate With Me
Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my one hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

We come to an end and then we begin again. We die and we break then we pick ourselves up and we take a few steps. Tentatively. One after the other. Again. Again.

Comments (3)

  • Bill Sheehan

    Thank you for this today. I needed your words. I will return to them often today.

  • Dear T.: You continue to be much in my thoughts. I am dismayed that I have got so far behind in your posts! I didn’t know you at the time of the trials to which you allude, but I can tell you that coming to know you has given me much joy, and I hope that is a favor I can return to you. Let us celebrate together!

  • Good writing. I loved it.


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