On a snug evening I shall watch her fingers,
Cleverly ringed, declining to clever pink,
Beg glory from the willing keys. Old hungers
Will break their coffins, rise to eat and thank.
And music, warily, like the golden rose
That sometimes after sunset warms the west,
Will warm that room, persuasively suffuse
That room and me, rejuvenate a past.
But suddenly, across my climbing fever
Of proud delight— a multiplying cry.
A cry of bitter dead men who will never
Attend a gentle maker of musical joy.
Then my thawed eye will go again to ice.
And stone will shove the softness from my face.
Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the most beloved and acclaimed American poets of the 20th Century. She was the first black poet to win the Pulitzer Prize, which she received for her collection Annie Allen in 1949, and, in 1985, was the first black woman to serve as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a position which has since been renamed Poet Laureate. Brooks was the author of twenty books of poetry and several other books. She died in 2000.