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There Were Many...by T. Riley


God gave the earth black women who knew magic

Women who stirred pots

Women who swayed across the earth so delicately that flowers could grow beneath them

Women who held generations in their wombs

Bibles in their hands

Prayers on their tongues

Women who held me in their arms

He gave us many and unto them he gave many gifts and skills

Women that filled our bellies or tucked us in

Women that ushered us into pews or sang us hymns


Many there were and many there shall be

We give them names of endearment that measure their greatness

These women command the tongue to call them grandeur and great

How miraculous that their hips could influence men to desire and children to respect

Many are called by their grandness and greatness

Many are called by their size and magnitude

Many are called by short sounds that we made easy for the mount of babes

Mine was called by her children

Her grandchildren

And her great grandchildren and her great great grandchildren

Mine was called by the quality in which God made her


She carried a name worth envying

While there were many she was one

A woman who stirred pots and walked barefoot on fertile land

A woman who held generations in her womb

Bibles in her hands

Sunday peppermints in her purse

Hope in her eyes and wisdom on her tongue

A woman who held me in her arms

A woman who held her dearness upon her like a halo

A woman held by earth now like a hug from God


There were many and many more there will be

God gave the earth Black Women who knew magic

But none knew magic like the one

He gave me...



T. R.

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