Back when the earth was new
And heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn’t had time to stick;
back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumni
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file…
the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,
Swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.
I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
When I didn’t know their names?
Back when everything was still to come,
Luck leaked out of everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
And the world followed me here.
- Rita Dove
Created by The Wick Poetry Center
Sponsored by Ohio Arts Council
Poem by Rita Dove, From: On the Bus with Rosa Parks. ©1999
Design by Christopher Darling