“blessing the boats” by Lucille Clifton

(For 2012 National (US) Poetry Month celebrations)


Lucille Clifton did not adorn her poetry with punctuation or flourishes.  Her poems are quite emotional and are imbued with such humanity.  She wrote a lot about women and the African-American experience.

I was immediately drawn to “blessing the boats” when I first read it.  I’m not spiritual at all but nonetheless I love traditional blessings.

blessing the boats

(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back      may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

by Lucille Clifton




  1. Beautiful poem, Kinna! “May you in your innocence sail through this to that”. I don’t tend to read much poetry, but I’m reading a volume right now by Edward Brathwaite and really enjoying it, might take inspiration from you and post some samples up.


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