I’m honored to have been granted permission by Virginia Tech and poet Nikki Giovanni to reprint her poem, “The Self-Evident Poem,” as a special bonus to accompany today’s story about the upcoming concert by the Diane Monroe Quartet, performed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. At the concert, which takes place Friday, Jan. 25 at The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, jazz violinist Monroe will debut a new song that uses the words of Giovanni’s poem.
The text of the poem follows below.
The Self-Evident Poem
by Nikki Giovanni
It was never theirs to begin with . . . they came and took it and now it is taken back . . .that much anyone can see . . . it’s self-evident . . . no further explanation needed . . .
This poem is self-evident too . . . this poem needs no further explanation . . . this poem stands on its own as its own for its own sake . . . this poem is happy . . .
Sometimes this poem feels lonely . . . Sometimes this poem yearns for a poem to talk with and laugh with and maybe have a glass of wine with in some nice little neighborhood corner café where everybody knows your name
And sometimes this poem just wants to take a book and go to central park and read
It’s self-evident that life is about the good we do not the evil that is left behind and there is so much evil in the world sitting in so many high places telling so many lies while choking the life out of the vulnerable and the helpless and you’ve just got to love black folks for being able to bury the lynched and the burned for being able to bear the lash and lies for finding a song to lift our spirits and send our souls to a better place
And you’ve just got to feel sorry for white folks who still do not understand this is another century and we just can’t keep bombing the same people over and over again because we don’t want to admit the craziness is home grown
So this poem prays for peace and hopes it can find another poem to peddle for peace and they find a poem which walks for peace and they find a poem which flies for peace and maybe they will all get together and raise a song that drowns the war cries the capital punishment cries and sad cries of lost people looking for an empire that was never theirs to begin with