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  • Belly Song (for the Daytop Family)
  • Etheridge Knight (bio)

“You have made somethingOut of the sea that blewAnd rolled you on its salt bitter lips.It nearly swallowed you.But I hearYou are tough and harder to swallow than most . . .”

—S. Mansfield

1 And I and I / must admit that the sea in you    has sung / to the sea / in me and I and I / must admit that the sea in me   has fallen / in love   with the sea in you because you have made something out of the sea    that nearly swallowed you

And this poem This poem This poem / I give / to you. This poem is a song / I sing / I sing / to you from the bottom    of the sea      in my belly

This poem This poem This poem / is a song / about FEELINGS [End Page 953] about the Bone of feeling about the Stone of feeling   And the Feather of feeling

2 This poem This poem This poem / is / a death / chant and a grave / stone and a prayer for the dead:   for young Jackie Robinson a moving Blk / warrior who walked among us   with a side / stride—and heavy heels moving moving moving thru the blood and mud and shit of Vietnam moving moving moving thru the blood and mud and dope of America    for Jackie / who was /

a song and a stone and a Feather of feeling    now dead and / gone / in this month of love

This poem This poem / is / a sliver feather and the sun-god / glinting / green hills breathing river flowing—for Sheryl and David—and their first / kiss by the river—for Mark and Sue and a Sunday walk on her grand / father’s farm for Sammy and Marion—love rhythms for Michael and Jean—love rhythms love / rhythms—love rhythms—and LIFE

3 This poem This poem This poem This poem / is / for ME—for me and the days / that lay / in the back of my mind when the sea / rose up /    to swallow me [End Page 954] and the streets I walked    were lonely streets    were stone / cold streets

This poem This poem / is / for me / and the nights    when I wrapped my feelings   in a sheet of ice and stared    at the stars      thru iron bars       and cried in the middle of my eyes . . .

This poem This poem This poem / is / for me   and my woman   and the yesterdays when she opened   to me like a flower but I fell on her    like a stone I fell on her like a stone . . .

4 And now—in my 40th year   I have come here to this House of Feelings to this Singing Sea and I and I / must admit that the sea in me   has fallen / in love with the sea in you because the sea that now sings / in you   is the same sea that nearly swallowed you—   and me too.

Seymour, Connecticut
June 1971

Etheridge Knight

Etheridge Knight (1931–1991) is author of Poems from Prison, Belly Song and Other Poems, and Born of a Woman: New and Selected Poems.

Footnotes

Reprinted by permission of Broadside Press.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 953-955
Launched on MUSE
1996-11-01
Open Access
No
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