Seasoning for Courage - A Poem by Margaret Rozga

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Wednesday, 06 November 2013
Seasoning for Courage - A Poem by Margaret Rozga

Margaret Rozga is a poet, playwright, and along with her late husband James Groppi, a leader in Milwaukee's civil rights movement. Her poems have been featured in many journals, and her recent work 200 Nights and One Day earned a bronze medal in poetry from the Independent Publishers Book Awards and was named an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry by the Wisconsin Library Association. This poem is taken from her forthcoming book Justice   Freedom   Herbs. We are excited to have her speak at our Menomonee Valley branch on November 12th.

Refernecing the famous fair housing march her husband led across what was then called the 16th Street Viaduct Rozga says "one question people often ask is about what it felt like to march across the viaduct into a hostile crowd. So I thought a lot about how best to describe that feeling. This poem does that but then also takes a positive turn." In 1998 the 16th Street Viaduct was offcially renamed the James E. Groppi Unitiy Brdige.

Seasoning for Courage

There grows
no herb of help to heal a coward heart.
      --Algernon Charles Swinburne

bile churning up
into your throat?

That’s the bitter moment before
courage     Courage

itself has a wild, fresh air taste
something like the soft grey-green of sage

like cold air warming up for snowfall
like oolong tea brewed with artesian water
perhaps slightly over brewed

Before the taste the sound

the melting of ice above the tree line
the shift of wind from west to north
the essential rush of greening maple

the beating of a mother’s heart
at the moment of giving birth


Margaret Rozga at the Urban Ecology Center Menomonee Valley
Tuesday, November 12th
7 - 8:30 p.m.
Join us at our Menomonee Valley branch to hear more of Margaret Rozga's poetry, stories of her involvement in the civil rights movement, and her excitement about the re-imagining and rebirth of the Menomonee Valley.
Click here to register!

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