When You Thought Me Poor – Alice Walker

When you thought me poor, 

my poverty was shaming. 

When blackness was unwelcome 

we found it best 

that I stay home. 
When by the miracle 

of fierce dreaming and hard work 

Life fulfilled our every want 

you found me crassly 

well off; 

not trimly, 

inconspicuously wealthy 

like your rich friends. 
Still black too, 


I owned too much and too many 

of everything. 
Woe is me: I became a 

success! Blackness, who 

knows how? 

Became suddenly 

What to do? 

Now that Fate appears 

(for the moment anyhow) 

to have dismissed 

abject failure 

in any case? 

Now that moonlight and night 

have blessed me. 
Now that the sun 

unaffected by criticism 

of any sort, 

implacably beams 

the kiss filled magic that creates 

the dark and radiant wonder 

of my face.

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