When You Thought Me Poor

Alice Walker

When you thought me poor,
my poverty was shaming.
When blackness was unwelcome
we found it best
that I stay home.

When by the miracle
of fierce dreaming and hard work
Life fulfilled our every want
you found me crassly
well off;
not trimly,
inconspicuously wealthy
like your rich friends.

Still black too,
I owned too much and too many
of everything.

Woe is me: I became a
success! Blackness, who
knows how?
Became suddenly

What to do?
Now that Fate appears
(for the moment anyhow)
to have dismissed
abject failure
in any case?
Now that moonlight and night
have blessed me.

Now that the sun
unaffected by criticism
of any sort,
implacably beams
the kiss filled magic that creates
the dark and radiant wonder
of my face.

Last updated July 15, 2015