Happy Birthday Lucille Clifton

Amazons of Dahomey

Warrior Women of Dahomey

A raunchy poet, someone who revels in the human body, celebrates it, owns it.  Also a celebrated champion of African American Heritage.  She was brought to public note by none other than Langston Hughes when he published her in his anthology “The Poetry of the Negro” in 1967.

She traced her roots to Benin and the celebrated Kingdom of Dahomey, home of the fierce Warrior Amazons, not of legend but of recorded history.  They formed the King’s bodyguard and female regiments made up one third of all the armed forces in the Kingdom.  The last of the Dahomey Amazons died in 1979, aged over 100, and claimed she fought the French, which would have been in 1892-1894.

No surprise, with roots like these, that Lucille Clifton could spin a man like a top with her big hips.


Homage to my Hips; by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

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