Lucille Clifton

(June 27, 1936 - February 13, 2010 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Poem in praise of menstruation


if there is a river
more beautiful than this
bright as the blood
red edge of the moon if
there is a river
more faithful than this
returning each month
to the same delta if there

is a river
braver than this
coming and coming in a surge
of passion, of pain if there is

a river
more ancient than this
daughter of eve
mother of cain and of abel if there is in

the universe such a river if
there is some where water
more powerful than this wild
water

pray that it flows also
through animals
beautiful and faithful and ancient
and female and brave

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 12:05:00 PM)

    Wow. Never thought I could like a poem about menstruation. Instead of viewing as a curse the poet finds the beauty in the knowing that without this monthly tpritual, life as we know it can not exist. Wonderful write! (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (1/15/2011 8:59:00 PM)

    I love your poetry ms. Clifton, however my wife used to have a problem with fibroids, which made her monthly cycle into a sunami, she might not agree with the premise. (Report) Reply

  • Leslie Audes (2/17/2010 9:17:00 PM)

    Love the lyricism in this poem - it's a great one to recite. Erhard, you don't get it: women are strong because of/ inspite of our bodies. Menstruation doesn't hold anyone back - except a few men with hangups. (Report) Reply

  • Erhard Hans Josef Lang (3/5/2008 12:26:00 AM)

    Stark imagery, indeed, in this poem of yours. If not for menstruation, women might well accrue such tremendous powers that could overpower the biggest macho of a male. (Report) Reply

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