Rita Dove


Wingfoot Lake - Poem by Rita Dove

On her 36th birthday, Thomas had shown her
her first swimming pool. It had been
his favorite color, exactly—just
so much of it, the swimmers' white arms jutting
into the chevrons of high society.
She had rolled up her window
and told him to drive on, fast.

Now this act of mercy: four daughters
dragging her to their husbands' company picnic,
white families on one side and them
on the other, unpacking the same
squeeze bottles of Heinz, the same
waxy beef patties and Salem potato chip bags.
So he was dead for the first time
on Fourth of July—ten years ago

had been harder, waiting for something to happen,
and ten years before that, the girls
like young horses eyeing the track.
Last August she stood alone for hours
in front of the T.V. set
as a crow's wing moved slowly through
the white streets of government.
That brave swimming

scared her, like Joanna saying
Mother, we're Afro-Americans now!
What did she know about Africa?
Were there lakes like this one
with a rowboat pushed under the pier ?
Or Thomas' Great Mississippi
with its sullen silks? (There was
the Nile but the Nile belonged

to God.) Where she came from
was the past, 12 miles into town
where nobody had locked their back door,
and Goodyear hadn't begun to dream of a park
under the company symbol, a white foot
sprouting two small wings.


Comments about Wingfoot Lake by Rita Dove

  • Khairul Ahsan (12/21/2018 10:44:00 PM)

    'where nobody had locked their back door,
    and Goodyear hadn't begun to dream of a park
    under the company symbol, a white foot
    sprouting two small wings. - The poem ends so beautifully!
    Congratulations on this poem's selection as the 'Classic Poem of the Day'.
    (Report)Reply

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  • Michael Walker (12/21/2018 6:24:00 PM)

    Subtle and memorable switches in time, place and cultures. Brilliant. (Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/21/2018 1:01:00 PM)

    Waiting for something! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report)Reply

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  • Drtony Brahmin (12/21/2018 9:09:00 AM)

    Goodyear hadn't begun to dream of a park
    under the company symbol, a white foot
    sprouting two small wings. Afro american........ very good poem .. cultural diff. thank u.
    (Report)Reply

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  • Nadia Umber Lodhi (12/21/2018 8:46:00 AM)

    had been
    his favorite color, exac
    (Report)Reply

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  • Adrian Flett (12/21/2018 4:53:00 AM)

    So much in this great poem, the mixtures in the textures of cultural differences, historical shifts and the movement onwards with time and change. All so subtlety and gently said but with authority and understanding.. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/21/2018 2:26:00 AM)

    C..P. O T. D. means Classic Poem Of The Day, Friday 21st December 2018 on Poem Hunter poem site. Once again, Mrs. Dove: Congratulations being chosen by Poem Hunter and Team. God's Blessings in Abundance for you and your beloved family. I remain, sincerest Sylvia Frances Chan, Dutch Poetess, The Netherlands (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/21/2018 2:19:00 AM)

    The most exciting of her poems, they represent her own society of that time. We can provide Mrs. Dove completely follow in her daily life. For me, this is the ultimate in a poem. Mrs. Dove writes very intelligent and beautiful. I do not flatter her, but it is true. A fascinating poem that the C.P.O.T.D. has won. Congratulations, Mrs. Dove. I hope you read our messages and comments. Thank you for all your beautiful poems. Best Regards, SFC (Report)Reply

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  • (5/15/2014 7:21:00 AM)

    A great contemplative piece of remembering long ago days. (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
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Poem Submitted: Monday, October 21, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, October 22, 2013


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