Thursday, June 3, 2010

DOPE: "a laying on of hands" Ntozake Shange

A Laying on of Hands
from "for colored girls who have considered suicide | when the rainbow is enuf"
by Ntozake Shange

i waz missing somethin
somethin so important
somethin promised
a layin on of hands
fingers near my forehead
makin me whole
sense pure
all the gods comin into me
layin me open to myself
i waz missing somethin
somethin promised
somethin free
a layin on of hands
i know bout/layin on bodies/layin outta man
bringin him alla my fleshy self & some of my pleasure
bein taken full eager wet like i get sometimes
i waz missing somethin
a layin on of hands
not a man
layin on
not my mama/holdin me tight/sayin
i'm laways gonna be her girl
not a layin on of bosom and womb
a layin on of hands
the holiness of myself released

i sat up one nite walkin a boardin house
screamin/cryin/the ghost of another woman
who waz missin what i waz missin
i wanted to jump up outta my bones
& be done wit myself
leave me alone
& go on in the wind
it waz too much
i fell into a numbness
til the only tree i cd see
took me up in her branches
held me in the breeze
made me dawn dew
that chill at daybreak
the sun wrapped me up swingin rose light everywhere
the sky laid over me like a million men
i waz cold/i waz burnin up/a child
& endlessly weavin garments for the moon
wit my tears
i found god in myself
& i loved her/i loved her fiercely


  1. what does it mean " laying on of hands" in this poem ?

  2. "A laying on of hands" is generally considered to be a religious ritual, Anon-

    As it pertains to this poem, I've always taken it to be a figurative description of the moment a woman finds her self worth.