Read Absolute. It is a wonderful poem!

I’ve been reading a poem-a-day in my email input box for years. And every once in a while I come across a poem that seems to take my breath away. The one I’m sharing with you today is that one for now. I hope you love it as much as I do. Congratulations Jacqueline Woodson for your wonderful poem.


Jacqueline Woodson

The summer I was ten a teenager
named Kim butterflied my hair. Cornrows
curling into braids 
behind each ear.

Everybody’s wearing this style now, Kim said.

Who could try to tell me
I wasn’t beautiful. The magic
in something as once ordinary
as hair that for too long 
had not been good enough
now winged and amazing 
now connected 

to a long line of crowns.

Now connected
to a long line of girls
moving through Brooklyn with our heads
held so high, our necks ached. You must 
know this too – that feeling 

of being so much more than
you once believed yourself to be

so much more than your
too-skinny arms
and too-big feet and
too-long fingers and
too-thick and stubborn hair

All of us now
suddenly seen
the trick mirror that had us believe
we weren’t truly beautiful
suddenly shifts

and there we are

and there we are

and there we are again

and Oh! How could we not have seen
ourselves before? So much more

We are so much more.


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  2. Guillermo Rivera (San Antonio, Texas) says

    Thank you Madeline for sharing this wonderful poem Absolute by Jacqueline Woodson, as well as, your many achievements as a amazing writer, and your own touching story of life.

    I am subscribing your wholly benevolent blog because I believe will be impossible to be bored with your splendorous writing, and at the same time get enriched as a human being by nourishing my heart, bringing freedom to my spirit, and reinventing myself to start over again after the passing of my wife, and honoring her at getting very occupied with an exceptional full life. Also, I have bought the kindle version of your book “Leaving the Hall Light On to learn from your painful experience once I am want to help people get better.

    In addition I purchased your paperback book Poetry Pack Volume 1 and the kindle version Papa’s Shoes. I wanted to buy your book Blue Collar Women but only used is available and will not benefit you So I will wait you print it again. Finally, I bought the novel kindle version Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. In truth, I am very inspired to learn write very well English language to express better my mind and heart, and the books of both of you will be my teachers now. Funny enough it will be like masters having only 5 minutes and dedicate me 30.

    About the poem Absolute, strongly I believe that many of us prefer a rainbow colorful heart than pretty external looks what remembered the following Rumi poem:

    You suppose that you’re the trouble,
    But you’re really the cure.
    You suppose that you’re the lock in the door
    But you’re really the key that opens it.

    It’s too bad you want to be someone else.
    You don’t see your own face, your own beauty.
    Yet, no one’s face is more beautiful than yours.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Thank you for sharing the beautiful and so true Rumi poem. I appreciate your support of my work. Best, Madeline

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