The Negro Still Speaks of Rivers

our chains are gone, dusky hide unscarred and
jim has died with our old grey leaders.
we escaped cotton shares for ghetto squares
and our blood flows more from north than south, yet
the negro still speaks of rivers.

our enduring power is no longer love but black,
and so we hate. reckless abandon of a king’s dream
to hold hands and sing with those of another hue, yet
the negro still speaks of rivers.

story, culture, love and sermon prophesied
to a nation’s soul blacker than it desired, yet
did black power render us voiceless,
robbing the grey and the old rugged cross?

blood and water he still seeps and bleeds
desires its rolling down mountains purple.
it roars out atavism to a people listening, so yes,
the negro still speaks of rivers.

© Regis A. Saxton

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