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Guest Poet Tamara Stratford


The lazy, laughing South

With blood on its mouth

The sunny-faced South,



The child-minded South

Scratching in the dead fire's ashes

For a Negro's bones

Cotton and the moon,

Warmth, earth, warmth,

The sky, the sun, the stars

The magnolia-scented South.

Beautiful, like a woman,

Seductive as a dark-eyed whore,

Passionate, cruel,

Honey-lipped, syphilitic -

That is the South.

And I, who am black, would love her

But she turns her back upon me.

So now I seek the North -

The cold-faced North,

For she, they say,

Is a kinder mistress,

And in her house my children

May escape the spell of the South

February, 2002

Tamara Stratford's questions:

1) Can you tell me what this poem means?

2) Is this poem referring to a black and a white woman?

3) Does this poem reflect anything about the days of racial discrimmination? ( Slave master, plantation, etc.)

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