April 4, 2007

Gwendolyn Brooks: “First Fight. Then Fiddle.”

Posted in Poetry at 8:00 am by The Lizard Queen

First Fight. Then Fiddle.

First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string
With feathery sorcery; muzzle the note
With hurting love; the music that they wrote
Bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing
Threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing
For the dear instrument to bear. Devote
The bow to silks and honey. Be remote
A while from malice and from murdering.
But first to arms, to armor. Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin with grace.

–Gwendolyn Brooks, 1949



  1. […] I’m starting with one of my favorite sonnets. (Would you have guessed it was a sonnet? “First Fight. Then Fiddle.” is another favorite sonnet of mine. I don’t tend to gravitate toward formal poetry, […]

  2. Kaelin said,

    doin this poem for english

  3. […] Gwedolyn Brooks, “A Light and Diplomatic Bird” and “First Fight.  Then Fiddle” […]

  4. Reblogged this on strohmeierlife and commented:
    Such a gentle reminder to take your resolve for freedom in a firm grasp and make progress in that direction that allows you to pursue your calling.

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