Etheridge Knight

(1931 - 1991 / Mississippi)

A Poem For Myself


I was born in Mississippi;
I walked barefooted thru the mud.
Born black in Mississippi,
Walked barefooted thru the mud.
But, when I reached the age of twelve
I left that place for good.
My daddy chopped cotton
And he drank his liquor straight.
Said my daddy chopped cotton
And he drank his liquor straight.
When I left that Sunday morning
He was leaning on the barnyard gate.
Left my mama standing
With the sun shining in her eyes.
Left her standing in the yard
With the sun shining in her eyes.
And I headed North
As straight as the Wild Goose Flies,
I been to Detroit & Chicago
Been to New York city too.
I been to Detroit & Chicago
Been to New York city too.
Said I done strolled all those funky avenues
I'm still the same old black boy with the same old blues.
Going back to Mississippi
This time to stay for good
Going back to Mississippi
This time to stay for good-
Gonna be free in Mississippi
Or dead in the Mississippi mud.

Submitted: Saturday, July 19, 2003
Edited: Monday, March 01, 2010

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Comments about this poem (A Poem For Myself by Etheridge Knight )

  • Gold Star - 13,881 Points * Sunprincess * (6/1/2014 5:31:00 PM)

    ............a very down to earth poem.....enjoyed... (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 762 Points Michelle Claus (5/4/2014 10:05:00 PM)

    When the thoughts are first introduced, it sounds like the poet is telling us, the readers. When the thoughts are repeated, it sounds like the poet is telling himself - like he needs to plant his rock-solid realities in his mind and make peace with them. This would align with the poem's title, A Poem for Myself. It works well. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 37 Points Colleen Courtney (5/3/2014 5:31:00 PM)

    I really enjoyed this bluesy poem! Has a very lyrical rhythm to it! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 213 Points Palas Kumar Ray (5/3/2014 11:40:00 AM)

    This is something different, straight & bold.Love it how you did. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 816 Points Leslie Philibert (5/3/2014 9:19:00 AM)

    Great poem with a real blues feeling,12-Bar pure... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,427 Points Savita Tyagi (5/3/2014 6:12:00 AM)

    Home always calls us back. It stays same in our memory even when every thing there has changed with time. Touched by this simple poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 423 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/1/2013 9:29:00 AM)

    Blessed the Mississippi muddy track
    That such a poet was born there
    It matters not if it be white, brown or black
    But this is true poetry just raw and bare

    Excellent poem with an earthy feel. Welcome to all ye poets who are reading this to my page. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 8 Points Besa Dede (5/3/2013 9:46:00 PM)

    Beautiful poem about expressing his feelings for his hometown. It is true there is no place like home!
    I like the way the author emphasizes his thoughts by repeating the stanzas. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 182 Points Karen Sinclair (7/9/2012 5:09:00 AM)

    loved this piece...seems songlike but that made me sing through the words....there is a wonderful balance of joy honesty and pain.. great how it went full circle from the mud in mississippi.tyvm...karen (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,187 Points Walterrean Salley (5/5/2012 3:02:00 PM)

    In spite of a very hard life, he somehow discovered that, truly, there is no place like home. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,187 Points Walterrean Salley (5/5/2012 3:00:00 PM)

    In spite of a very hard life, but somehow discovered that, truly, there is no place like home. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 53 Points Dash Black (5/3/2012 9:45:00 AM)

    east west home is best (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Not Yer Buissiness (2/1/2007 3:04:00 PM)

    This poem is really powerful! Nice! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 10 Points Egal Bohen (2/11/2006 6:41:00 PM)

    I like this one a lot - probably because Mississippi is a magic word for me, show me that stream called the river Jordan.........
    Thanks
    Egal... (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »

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