13+ Best Sonia Sanchez Poems You Need To Read Now

Sonia Sanchez is an American poet, writer, and professor. She was a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children’s books.

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Famous Sonia Sanchez Poems

Personal Letter No. 3

nothing will keep
us young you know
not young men or
women who spin
their youth on
cool playing sounds.
we are what we
are what we never
think we are.
no more wild geo
graphies of the
flesh. echoes. that
we move in tune
to slower smells.
it is a hard thing
to admit that
sometimes after midnight
i am tired
of it all.

A Love Poem Written for Sterling Brown

(after reading a New York Times article re
a mummy kept preserved for about 300 years)

I’m gonna get me some mummy tape for your love
preserve it for 3000 years or more
I’m gonna let the world see you
tapping a blue shell dance of love
I’m gonna ride your love bareback
on totem poles
bear your image on mountains
turning in ocean sleep
string your sighs thru the rainbow
of old age.
In the midst of desert people and times
I’m gonna fly your red/eagle/laughter ‘cross the sky.

Ballad

(after the spanish)

forgive me if i laugh
you are so sure of love
you are so young
and i too old to learn of love.

the rain exploding
in the air is love
the grass excreting her
green wax is love
and stones remembering
past steps is love,
but you. you are too young
for love
and i too old.

once. what does it matter
when or who, i knew
of love.
i fixed my body
under his and went
to sleep in love
all trace of me
was wiped away

forgive me if i smile
young heiress of a naked dream
you are so young
and i too old to learn of love.

Under a Soprano Sky

once i lived on pillars in a green house
boarded by lilacs that rocked voices into weeds.
i bled an owl’s blood
shredding the grass until i
rocked in a choir of worms.
obscene with hands, i wooed the world
with thumbs
while yo-yos hummed.
was it an unborn lacquer i peeled?
the woods, tall as waves, sang in mixed
tongues that loosened the scalp
and my bones wrapped in white dust
returned to echo in my thighs.

i hear a pulse wandering somewhere
on vague embankments.
O are my hands breathing? I cannot smell the nerves.
i saw the sun
ripening green stones for fields.
O have my eyes run down? i cannot taste my birth.

2.

now as i move, mouth quivering with silks
my skin runs soft with eyes.
descending into my legs, i follow obscure birds
purchasing orthopedic wings.
the air is late this summer.

i peel the spine and flood
the earth with adolescence.
O who will pump these breasts? I cannot waltz my tongue.

under a soprano sky, a woman sings,
lovely as chandeliers.

To Anita

high/yellow/black/girl
walken like the sun u be.
move on even higher.
those who
laugh at yo/color
have not moved
to the blackness we be about
cuz as Curtis Mayfield be sayen
we people be darker than blue
and quite a few
of us be yellow
all soul/shades of
blackness.
yeah. high/yellow/black/girl
walk yo/black/song
cuz some of us
be hearen yo/sweet/music.

Tanka

i kneel down like a
collector of jewels before
you. i am singing
one long necklace of love my
mouth a sapphire of grapes.

Present

This woman vomiting her
hunger over the world
this melancholy woman forgotten
before memory came
this yellow movement bursting forth like
coltrane’s melodies all mouth
buttocks moving like palm tress,
this honeycoatedalabamianwoman
raining rhythm to blue/black/smiles
this yellow woman carrying beneath her breasts
pleasures without tongues
this woman whose body waves
desert patterns,
this woman wet with wandering,
reviving the beauty of forests and winds
is telling you secrets
gather up your odors and listen
as she sings the mold from memory.

there is no place
for a soft / black / woman.
there is no smile green enough or
summertime words warm enough to allow my growth.
and in my head
i see my history
standing like a shy child
and i chant lullabies
as i ride my past on horseback
tasting the thirst of yesterday tribes
hearing the ancient/black/woman
me, singing hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-ya-ya.
hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-y a-ya.
like a slow scent
beneath the sun
and i dance my
creation and my grandmothers gathering
from my bones like great wooden birds
spread their wings
while their long/legged/laughter
stretched the night.
and i taste the
seasons of my birth. mangoes. papayas.
drink my woman/coconut/milks
stalk the ancient grandfathers
sipping on proud afternoons
walk like a song round my waist
tremble like a new/born/child troubles
with new breaths
and my singing
becomes the only sound of a
blue/black/magical/woman. walking.
womb ripe. walking. loud with mornings. walking.
making pilgrimage to herself. walking.

Depression

I have gone into my eyes
bumping against sockets that sing
smelling the evening from under the sun
where waterless bones move
toward their rivers in incense.
a piece of light crawls up and down
then turns a corner.

as when drunken air molts in beds,
tumbling over blankets that cover sweat
nudging into sheets continuing dreams;
so i have settled in wheelbarrows
grotesque with wounds,
small and insistent as sleigh bells.

am i a voice delighting in the sand?
look how the masks rock on the winds
moving in tune to leave.
i shed my clothes.
am i a seed consumed by breasts
without the weasel’s eye
or the spaniel teeth of a child?

2

i have cried all night
tears pouring out of my forehead
sluggish in pulse,
tears from a spinal soul
that run in silence to my birth
ayyyy! am i born? i cannot peel the flesh.
i hear the moon daring to dance these rooms.
O to become a star.
stars seek their own mercy
and sigh the quiet, like gods.

14 haiku

1.
Your limbs buried
in northern muscle carry
their own heartbeat

2.
Mississippi…
alert with
conjugated pain

3.
young Chicago
stutterer whistling
more than flesh

4.
your pores
wild stars embracing
southern eyes

5.
footprints blooming
in the night remember
your blood

6.
in this southern
classroom summer settles
into winter

7.
i hear your
pulse swallowing
neglected light

8.
your limbs
fly off the ground
little birds…

9.
we taste the
blood ritual of
southern hands

10.
blue midnite
breaths sailing on
smiling tongues

11.
say no words
time is collapsing
in the woods

12.
a mother’s eyes
remembering a cradle
pray out loud

13.
walking in Mississippi
i hold the stars
between my teeth

14.
your death
a blues, i could not
drink away.

Poem No. 8

I’ve been a woman
with my legs stretched by the wind
rushing the day
thinking i heard your voice
while it was only the nite
moving over
making room for the dawn.

An Anthem

Our vision is our voice
we cut through the country
where madmen goosestep in tune to Guernica.

we are people made of fire
we walk with ceremonial breaths
we have condemned talking mouths.

we run without legs
we see without eyes
loud laughter breaks over our heads.

give me courage so I can spread
it over my face and mouth.

we are secret rivers
with shaking hips and crests
come awake in our thunder
so that our eyes can see behind trees.

for the world is split wide open
and you hide your hands behind your backs
for the world is broken into little pieces
and you beg with tin cups for life.

are we not more than hunger and music?
are we not more than harlequins and horns?
are we not more than color and drums?
are we not more than anger and dance?

give me courage so I can spread it
over my face and mouth.

we are the shakers
walking from top to bottom in a day
we are like Shango
involving ourselves in acts
that bring life to the middle
of our stomachs

we are coming towards you madmen
shredding your death talk
standing in front with mornings around our waist
we have inherited our prayers from
the rain
our eyes from the children of Soweto.

red rain pours over the land
and our fire mixes with the water.

give me courage so I can spread
it over my face and mouth.

A Poem for My Father (96 years old on Feb. 29, 2000)

With exact wings
Your words sailed back
into your throat. Could
not fly forward.
Your mouth face
startled by this autumn
Thunder went south again.
I had forgotten the salute
of death, how it waits Militarily
on the outskirts of our skin.
I had forgotten how death
howls inside our veins.
O father, how much like a child
again I felt as I ran down doctors
painted on porcelain corridors.
O My father, as I breathed
inhaled for us both,
I began to sing a song
you sang when I was little
without a poet’s name,
Afraid of all the shadows
cremating my bones,

Remember the nite,
The nite you said
I love you
remember…

I remembered your voice swollen
in a ritual of words on
152nd Street and St. Nicholas Place.
Now I, daughter of applause,
hands waterlogged with memory,
asked for nothing more
as I circled your hospital room,
sequined with our breaths
in an hour-glass of sound.

Blues

In the night
in my half hour
negro dreams
i hear voices knocking at the door
i see walls dripping screams up
and down the halls
won’t someone open
the door for me? won’t some
one schedule my sleep
and don’t ask no questions?
noise.
like when he took me to his
home away from home place
and i died the long sought after
death he’d planned for me.
Yeah, bessie he put in the bacon
and it overflowed the pot.
and two days later
when i was talking
i started to grin.
as everyone knows
i am still grinning.

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