Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela

i have been crying all day;

a memory of a long-forgotten


the thought of

a lost love,

my generally piteous state…

but i do mourn

Comrade Winnie

and the ideals

for which she stood.

painfully aware

of the sickness 

of hate and prejudice

that corrupts

on either side

of its hideous fence

and i see that there

is no possible victory,

outside of struggle…

no possible solution

but to continue

to resist complacency,




and blatant lies–

no matter who

perpetuates such.

so through my tears

i toast the victories 

that we

may never know…

I toast my brief walk through

the streets of Soweto

and Cape Town

and my fleeting South African matronymics:

“Sis Lin” and “Comrade Linda”.

I celebrate the music of her name:

“Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela”

a name tied to strength

and his/her story.

for I am but a minuscule

segment of truth and hope

and struggle.

who still cries

while bathed, fed, and well..

while others search the streets

for scraps

of food and warmth

and lie stolidly

beneath overpasses 

and seek




within these

desiccated systems

and beyond.
Linda Tauhid



Marjory Stoneman Douglas

do they know who she was?

will her name now only

be associated

with slaughter?

will the children

now touched by death

truly become activists?

will they see the connection 

of causes–expand their advocacy?

will her life be remembered

for the resiliency of her spirit,

her adept management of privilege 

and struggle

her environmental activism.

is her voice speaking to them

through her stories,

her work, her successes.

is she so far from all of us

even in death?

do the students

mourn only their outcome?

can they see around corners,

across city streets

can they hear the choking cries

of others

can they smell the metallic life-blood 

staining America’s soil.

do they know their culpability,

their complicity,

their duty?

–to challenge and confront

to practice social justice

for their lifetimes;

to take this heinous lesson

and abide…

and to learn and remember

their school’s namesake

and let her name be mentioned

as a driver for their courage,

their continuance,


their hope.
Linda Tauhid



a whip-poor-will
was serenading
outside my window
this morning;
for a long time
i listened…
what did i do to deserve such
a beautiful song
except awake?
and then curiously
i peeked through the blinds
which frightened her away–
she flew
still singing
across the courtyard–
the gift of


what does it do

to the soul

when day meets night?

when their term is equal?

when the winter-tired body

finally sees light–

senses the hint of warmth.

when the heart feels hope

and remembrance of love

girlhood notions, long dispelled.

how have the great stars


to make these changes

that went on long before us;

that will continue

even in our absence.

there are more questions than answers;

the general inquiry

of life

and Spring–

it’s joy,

it’s hope…

and time–so short;

and what will be

or not be

in each day.
Linda Tauhid


In the Spirit:

Old Faces

i saw
some of
the old faces tonight.
the faces that spoke
the words
that turned the tides
and that kept
the candle
of freedom lit.
for free-dome
is what most
really seek…
a breath of air,
a ray of sun
an unfettered thought
to the good.
the ability to walk
in the world
without fear
or shame;
I still feel the fire
even after so long–
it is a cold flame
it does not warm
my aging bones.
it freezes
as well as scorches.
because time itself
has been juxtaposed
the decades
that we
have trod.
yet none of us
are ready for finality.
we live
and will not die.
our children’s children
speak our names;
our students remember
our lessons.
our words gleam
from dried yellow pages,
and books without covers
that never close,
they course the realms
of cyberspace.
our story is unending
our footprints lead
like a blue note
from Wayne Shorter’s
like a piano chord
from ‘Maiden Voyage’
like a star
Creator’s sky.


Linda Tauhid



Coach Jackson

Coach Jackson

planned the gathering

and he asked me to speak

my piece

in a park on a January day.

…and Najiyyah came with a friend

and we had a ceremony

and loosed balloons 

into the receiving sky.

and we were all serious


rehearsing a man

and a cause

important to us all.

sometimes I am too easy

in not guarding valuable associations

but we are of the black

and brilliant

and thus we are not safe.

working at the time

with the unteachable,

working for

the unreachable.

as they continued to perpetuate


through harassment 

and censure.

but I am sure that

wherever you are

Coach Jackson,

that you are still carrying

that tattered Bible

you used to carry

daily into the school.

and i know that this day

you are observing



has landed


and with




accorded you

in full compliment

to The Dream.
Linda Tauhid


Isabella–A Living Tribute

Note: Dear reader- I realize that this is a “living tribute” and thus will grow and change. I have added a second section in honor of this exceptional women and all women in Women’s History Month.

i never understood

how much

she taught me…

how she saw me

and recognized me.

in this world

where it is too hard

to even get

a second look.

she groomed me

and honored my talents.

sometime we would sing

side by side

holding either end

of a hymnal.

her voice of a special


with faith beyond

my understanding.

“Angels watching over me,

my Lord.”

by her support

she empowered me

to speak in truth


in a multitude

of forums.

she was

a mother,

a teacher,

a minister’s wife

and beyond.

she was a leader

a mentor

who walked

with love

and purpose.

can i in some way

honor her,

say her name to the world?





Isabella Ravenell.

she taught us

about Africa: Ghana

i heard it as ‘Garner’
but was always happy

to recount

my insignificant knowledge

with pride;

and she dressed one of the girls

in cultural dress

for one of our programs;

it was many years

later that

I visited that place (Ghana)

lost in its magic

resurrected in its

familiarity and love

that we learned around

and while creating

spatter painted


and trips to Norumbega Park

and Mrs. Jack (Isabella’s) Gardner’s (Palace) Museum

that she led

with Mrs. Johnson


Girl Scout troop


Linda Tauhid


Section II