Learn More

Natasha Trethewey


South


I returned to a stand of pines,
bone-thin phalanx
flanking the roadside, tangle
of understory—a dialectic of dark
and light—and magnolias blossoming
like afterthought: each flower
a surrender, white flags draped
among the branches. I returned
to land's end, the swath of coast
clear cut and buried in sand:
mangrove, live oak, gulfweed
razed and replaced by thin palms—
palmettos—symbols of victory
or defiance, over and over
marking this vanquished land. I returned
to a field of cotton, hallowed ground—
as slave legend goes—each boll
holding the ghosts of generations:
those who measured their days
by the heft of sacks and lengths
of rows, whose sweat flecked the cotton plants
still sewn into our clothes.
I returned to a country battlefield
where colored troops fought and died—
Port Hudson where their bodies swelled
and blackened beneath the sun—unburied
until earth's green sheet pulled over them,
unmarked by any headstones.
Where the roads, buildings, and monuments
are named to honor the Confederacy,
where that old flag still hangs, I return
to Mississippi, state that made a crime
of me—mulatto, half-breed—native
in my native land, this place they'll bury me.

Submitted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Edited: Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (South by Natasha Trethewey )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
  2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  5. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  6. Death is Nothing at All, Henry Scott Holland
  7. A Little While, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  8. I Knew a Woman, Theodore Roethke
  9. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  10. If, Rudyard Kipling

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A little while a little love
The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see
If still our heaven be lit above.
Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Again, Joseph Archer
  2. the business of cuisine, oskar hansen
  3. For You And I, Edward Kofi Louis
  4. Crucifixion of th' Soul..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  5. Beware Of Mankind, Edward Kofi Louis
  6. Bigtha, Edward Kofi Louis
  7. Love Me Girl, Joseph Archer
  8. One Christmas Eve From The North..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  9. Neryah, Edward Kofi Louis
  10. Feels Sorry, Sari Mavi
[Hata Bildir]