Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gwendolyn Brooks: June 7, 1917--Dec. 3, 2000

The following poem by Gwendolyn Brooks is stark and bare. Some poems may match, but I doubt any can surpass it. The speakers look at their future with a cold, unblinking eye. Even the name of the pool hall is prophetic.


The Pool Players
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

At first I thought it was a sad poem. But, now . . . I think it goes beyond sadness.


  1. "Even the name of the pool hall is prophetic."

    That made me shudder, Fred. I didn't see that until you mentioned it.

  2. Cheryl,

    Yes, she sort of buried it. I didn't catch it the first time I read it either.