Study Guide

A Poem for My Librarian, Mrs. Long Stanza 7

By Nikki Giovanni

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Stanza 7

Lines 40-42

I loved the world where I was
I was safe and warm and grandmother gave me neck kisses
When I was on my way to bed

  • In Giovanni's poem "Nikki Rosa," she talks about how people always think that the childhoods of black people are a "drag." 
  • She ends the poem with the hope that no white person ever has any reason to write her biography because "they'll/ probably talk about my hard childhood/ and never understand that/ all the while I was quite happy." 
  • In this stanza, she wants to drive home her point: she was one happy kiddo.
  • And she was happy on her own terms, despite the racial tensions of the Deep South. 
  • Because women like her grandmother and Mrs. Long acted out of love for her, Giovanni is able to think back on that time with complete happiness.
  • Stanza 7 stands on its own and gets to the heart of the matter: reflecting on those who made her world safe and whole. 
  • That same sense of "cocooning" that we felt in stanza 6 carries on here and is highlighted by the enjambment in the final lines. Who doesn't get warm fuzzies when they see those "neck kisses" in line 41 snuggled up against bedtime in line 42?

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