May Miller



Possessed of this city, we are born
Into kinship with its people.
Eyes that looked upon
Cool magnificence of space,
The calm of marble,
And green converging on green
In long distances,
Bear their wonder to refute
Meaningless dimensions,
The Old-World facades.

The city is ours irrevocably
As pain sprouts at the edge of joy,
As grief grows large with our years.
New seeds push hard to topsoil;
Logic is a grafted flower
From roots in a changeless bed.
Skeleton steel may shadow the path,
Broken stone snag the foot,
But we shall walk again
Side by side with others on the street,
Each certain of his way home.



May Miller (1899-1995) first came to prominence as an award-winning playwright during the Harlem Renaissance.  A high school teacher, Miller was active in the famous literary salon of Georgia Douglas Johnson, and later helped establish the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, serving as Chair of the Literature Panel for the Commission's first three years.  From her retirement from teaching in 1943 until her death in 1995, Miller dedicated herself to writing poetry, publishing nine books of poems, including Halfway to the Sun, Dust of Uncertain Journey, and her Collected Poems.


Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.


To read more about this author:
May Miller A Tribute Written by Myra Sklarew
May Miller: Audio Issue
Brian Gilmore on May Miller: Poetic Ancestors Issue

Thanks to Miller Newman, May Miller's niece, for permission to reprint.