Image for the poem slavesong


♪a white slave owner struggles to emancipate his mind♪  

“A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression  
is no faith at all.” —William Wilberforce
grandfather owned a thousand slaves;  
now he and they sleep in their graves.  
he was their master, they his knaves;  
they had no rights, he had no wrongs.  
how oft they sang their mournful songs,  
confused by cruelties and throngs  
of passions they could not resolve!  
high whites, low blacks the chains involve;  
short nights, lame backs, long days revolve  
around a pendulum of pain,  
scorched by harsh sun, drenched by hard rain  
—and gosh, the smell of blood’s stale stain!
dad gifted me a blind black boy  
to serve me as my private toy;  
my conscience he would occupy  
—this willing, fragile peter pan,  
whose limited attention span  
suited my father’s master plan.  
his loyalty was genuine,  
my royalty seemed like a sin.  
i wondered how he felt within,  
strained by my every beck-and-call.  
what words could his poor soul enthrall  
that would not straightly mine appall?  
the souls of black folk, says dubois,  
may echo haunting airs of awe  
unfamiliar to the bourgeois.  
but flesh for flesh and bone for bone:
how has my white advantage flown!  
what can for colour crimes atone?  
life’s double-trouble hits my eyes,  
hewers of wood in silence rise;  
drawers of water skip demise.  
to plough and nail and dig and bend,  
their spirit, by strange means, transcend:  
methinks white rule has hit dead-end!  
© Copyright 2020 September 24  
by Clyve A. Bowen♫
Written by cabcool
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