Poem That I Admire

One of my all time favorite poems is “move” by Lucille Clifton. If I remember correctly, it is about the bombing of a neighborhood of MOVE activists in Philadelphia. I think it took place in the 1970s.

“The helicopter rose at the command

higher at first, then hesitating”

Apparently the person flying the helicopter was hesitating to bomb the neighborhood. The pilot took a second to think about morals but bombed the people anyway just because a person of power told him to. This poem has great imagery and expresses the feeling of peril. It inspires me to use great imagery and emotion in my poems. I also really love the last stanza, Here’s the full poem:

they had begun to whisper

among themselves hesitant

to be branded neighbor to the wild

haired women the naked children reclaiming a continent

away

move

he hesitated

then turned his smoky finger

toward africa toward the house

he might have lived in might have

owned or saved had he not turned

away

move

the helicopter rose at the command

higher at first then hesitating

then turning toward the center

of its own town only a neighborhood

away

move

she cried as the child stood hesitant in the last clear sky

he would ever see the last

before the whirling blades the whirling smoke

and sharp debris carried all clarity

away

move

if you live in a mind

that would destroy itself

to comfort itself

if you would stand fire

rather than difference

do not hesitate move

away

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