Social Question

liminal's avatar

Have you ever found yourself between starshine and clay?

Asked by liminal (7714 points ) March 30th, 2010

In February of this year Pulitzer Prize winner Lucille Clifton died. Her gift for using words to capture universal experience, by describing private understanding, is touching to me.

Can you find yourself in the words of her poem:

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Share and celebrate with me.

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17 Answers

zephyr826's avatar

I think we all spend time between starshine and clay, sometimes a little further in one direction than the other. We try to reach for our better selves, the celestial version that seems just out of reach, but our feet and occasionally the rest of us are determined to remain firmly rooted in the muck.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I really like this
.” everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed”
yep
:)

cazzie's avatar

This woman knew how to use words. (cazzie is always telling her son to use his words)
Thank you for reminding me of her. She was a power.

cazzie's avatar

What gave her that bridge, you suppose…. when so many of us feel like our feet are stuck deep in that clay and all we can do it reach.

janbb's avatar

“what I have shaped into
a kind of life…”

What a great poem! I think we are all somewhere on that bridge….

Thank you for sharing it with me, @liminal

susanc's avatar

Big lurve @liminal, and tears of gratitude for the wonderful Ms Clifton. I went to listen to her read back in the late 90’s. She was a big boiling-with-energy force, and full of laughter.

To answer the question: I think she’s talking about the state of physical life on earth. First we’re nothing but a twinkle, then we’re here, then we leave nothing behind but what’s left in the welcoming earth. I don’t think it’s about states of mind; I think it’s about the quick little journey from somewhere out there to somewhere down below in stillness. In between is the “bridge” – this alive body and this alive mind being in one place at the same time.
So – have I found myself there? it’s not “there”, it’s “here”, and I’ve been here since I was born.

starshine's avatar

Love it. and hey, my name’s in it too :)

nebule's avatar

Loved it xx Thanks @liminal once again xxx

liminal's avatar

Sadly, I never heard of Ms. Clifton until her death. I am looking forward to catching up. I feel grateful for her too.

“i made it up
here on this bridge”

I am awed by those of us that manage to stay on this bridge and thrive, you inspire me.

Adagio's avatar

This is wonderful.

“I made it up” Yes, so simple, so profound, so beautifully expressed.

“my one hand holding tight my other hand”… We remain, when all others leave, we remain, constant in our life. Immediately reminded me of these lines by Michael Leunig :

“Come and sit down beside me”,
I said to myself,
And although it doesn’t make sense,
I held my own hand
As a small sign of trust
And together I sat on the fence.

@liminal Thank you for introducing me to Lucille Clifton.

liminal's avatar

@Adagio thank you for introducing me to Michael Leunig, I have lived his lines as well.

kevbo's avatar

Lovely, @liminal. Thanks for sending this my way.

Just_Justine's avatar

It’s beautiful thank you, lovely words to start my day:)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Nothing moves me as only stillness can.

Thanks for sharing.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Lying on a summer night in a field of grass, looking up at the star-filled sky…this is one of the times I feel closest to the Infinite.

anartist's avatar

“what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay”
so must we all

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