Circling the Daughter

Etheridge Knight

-for Tandi

You came / to be / in the Month of Malcolm,
And the rain fell with a fierce gentleness,
Like a martyr's tears,
On the streets of Manhattan when your light was lit;
And the City sang you Welcome. Now I sit,
Trembling in your presence. Fourteen years
Have brought the moon-blood, the roundness,
The girl-giggles, the grand-leaps.
We are touch-tender in our fears.

You break my eyes with your beauty:
Ooouu-oo-baby-I -love-you.

Do not listen to the lies of old men
Who fear your power,
Who preach that you were "born in sin."
A flower is moral by its own flowering.
Reach always within
For the Music and the Dance and the Circling.

o Tandiwe, by Beloved of this land,
Your spring will come early and
When the earth begins its humming,
Begin your dance with men
With a Grin and a Grace of whirling.
Your place is neither ahead nor behind,
Neither right nor left. The world is round.
Make the sound of your breathing
A silver bell at midnight
And the chilling wet of the morning dew ...

You break my eyes with your beauty:
Ooouu-oo-baby-I -love-you

The Essential Etheridge Knight

Last updated December 15, 2022