My grandfather tells me not to let them rub my head.
I don’t know why this is, but, later, whenI hear the tale a black boy’s crown
brings his master good luck, I understand
A Poem Also about Psychoanalysis
I studied the problem inside me, something absurdIn the world
To live with, try to sing about, and sing.
And the poem was the song
To live with, try to sing and sing about.In the world,
I studied the problem inside me, something absurd:
History was happening; my people still not free—I was a child learning Negro History.
For many children, the age of 7 is the age of social awareness, a perspective on the world that broadens beyond what is identified as local, and some beginning awareness of a history beyond the one the child conceives as one’s immediate own. When I was 7, the March on Washington, the bombing of the Birmingham church and the deaths of those four like-aged girls, and the assassination of President Kennedy marked my entry into social awareness, and the particular quest for the civil rights of Negroes. As I learned more about the history and circumstances of that quest, I began to develop what would prove to be twin interests—writing poems and understanding the complexity of the human mind.