“Some of My Worst Wounds” by Lorna Goodison

Lorna Goodison

(in celebration of 2015 (US) National Poetry Month)

Jamaican Lorna Goodison is one of the best contemporary Caribbean poets. She has published twelve collections of poetry, the latest of which, Oracabessa, won her a 2014 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

I’m drawn to poems in which poets answer the question, What is a poem? Among my favorites responses are these lines from Czeslaw Milosz’s “Dedication”:

What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.

The opening line of Goodison’s “Some of My Worst Wounds” is sublime and familiar as there is a poet in the family whose wounds have produced some of the finest poetry ever. Enjoy!

Some of My Worst Wounds

Some of my worst wounds
have healed into poems.
A few well placed
stabs in the back
have released a singing
trapped between my shoulders.
A carrydown
has lent leverage
to the tongue’s rise
and betrayals sent words
hurrying home
to toe the line again.

– by Lorna Goodison

(from Selected Poems)

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4 comments

  1. I am not a comfortable reader of poetry so I really appreciate your sending me some that I can love. Lorna Goodison read some of her poetry at the university I attended years ago and I still remember how deeply her words touched me.

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    • Your comment has me thinking a lot about why folks don’t seem comfortable with poetry. I think I’ll write about that someday. You got to hear Lorna Goodison read? Lucky you!

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