Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"a song in the front yard" by Gwendolyn Brooks

a song in the front yard

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).

But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

Source of the text - Brooks, Gwendolyn.  The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks, edited by Elizabeth Alexander.  New York: The Library of America, 2005, p. 4.

TJB: Queen Anne front. There is irony in a song yearning nurserylike for the alley but which could only have been written from the front yard.

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