Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No One Can Wear a Hat Like a Black Woman

No one can wear a hat like a Black woman.
As she prepares for church, finding her gloves and
Straightening her stockings,
Greasing the children’s elbows and knees,
The last thing she must do
Is place that hat on her head, 
Tipped a bit to the side.
As she pushes the children out the door
She takes that last look in the mirror.
She may have made breakfast, started dinner, and
Pressed a few heads, but
When she walks out the door,
She has a walk that shows pride,
With her gloves in her hand and
Her bag tucked under her arm.
She walks tall as a beautiful Queen.
No one can wear a hat like a Black woman.
She may have been on her knees scrubbing floors or
Cooking in a white woman’s kitchen;
She may have scrubbed clothes on a washboard
And set loaves of bread for the week;
And she may have made a few sweet potato pies for church.
But when she dons that Sunday hat,
She walks with an elegance that is regal,
And her head is held high with that wide brim.
So no one can wear a hat like a Black woman
Because it covers hard work and a life of struggle,
But it adds a sense of pride that can’t be removed.
Today she may not be greasing children’s elbows and knees
Because they are grown and on their own.
She may not have to press heads and fix dinner
Because she now lives alone.
She may not be on her knees scrubbing floors
Because she is now a supervising scrub nurse.
She may not be cooking in someone’s kitchen
Because today she owns her own restaurant.
She doesn’t scrub clothes anymore or set any bread
Because she now sets policies and laws.
She may not make pies for church anymore
Because she is now the pastor.
But she still wears that hat with pride.
And no matter what she does in her life today,
No one can wear a hat like a Black woman.
So think about her when she enters church.
Look around and admire that woman in the hat
And know that’s a special woman who needs recognition
Because she makes changes in the world
Each and every day!
© Hilda Ward, 2012

Black Woman Wearing Hat at Church
Photo from http://www.myspace.com/electladykim/blog/538749384


jean sampson said...

Hilda, you know that I think this is your very best poem ever, don't you? And the picture----wowzer!

Camisha L. Jones said...

I love your storytelling ability and how you give life on the page to the African American cultural legacy.