To Conrad Kent Rivers – a sonnet
“To teach? To write. Above all . . to learn how to write and rid myself of color consciousness and ignorance.” – Conrad Kent Rivers
The internet won’t tell me why you died.
Or how. You were young, your best years ahead.
It was tragic – life snatched away so early
and with so much more poetry still pent up,
unexpressed, unshared with a cruel world
unworthy of your gift to it, to us.
I found your letter in our collection*:
I still see traces of your unfulfilled
trajectory. Well acquainted with your
hopes and fears, I’ve learned the “private idiom”
you sought, still feel the “joy in the seeking.”
I left two lines aside to close this poem –
your words work best: “I wish time had no end
for black poets; we need time to forget . . . ”
*Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. Rosey Pool papers. Correspondence, Box 82-2, Folder 133
A sample of his poetry: