For Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018

I know now she stood on a chair
to sing her first solo
at the New Bethel Baptist Church
in Detroit,
but what I knew
when I was a girl in Des Moines
was that the Queen of Soul

belted out all those songs
that seemed to echo
somewhere down inside
even white girl me —
pop and soul, jazz,
rhythm and blues, gospel, too.

Aretha Franklin
took us on a Freeway of Love —
in some fast kind
of pink Cadillac, speeding
all the way from Natural Woman
to Amazing Grace,

changing history
and teaching everybody
how to ask for some Respect,
and still say a little prayer,

teaching everybody
that we can all find something
to stand up on and sing.

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2 Responses to For Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018

  1. Beautiful words, Maren.

  2. Joyce Ray says:

    Just beautiful! A wonderful tribute. Thank you!

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