Monday, January 15, 2018
My guilt is "slavery's chains," too long
the clang of iron falls down the years.
This brother's sold, this sister's gone,
is bitter wax, lining my ears.
My guilt made music with the tears.
My crime is "heroes, dead and gone,"
dead Vesey, Turner, Gabriel,
dead Malcolm, Marcus, Martin King.
They fought too hard, they loved too well.
My crime is I'm alive to tell.
My sin is "hanging from a tree,"
I do not scream, it makes me proud.
I take to dying like a man.
I do it to impress the crowd.
My sin lies in not screaming loud.
-- Maya Angelou, "My Guilt," from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971)
These days, when we seem to be reeling over and over from the racist rhetoric of our Tyrant and his sycophantic supporters, it seems more important than ever to remember someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as everyone of any race, color, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and creed, who has died in the fight for equality in this nation built on democracy, equal opportunity, and freedom.
(Here is a link to my tribute to Maya Angelou when she died in 2014.)