Since 1619

How many years since 1619 have I been singing Spirituals?
How long have I been praising God and shouting hallelujahs?
How long have I been hated and hating?
How long have I been living in hell for heaven?

When will I see my brother’s face wearing another color?
When will I be ready to die in an honest fight?
When will I be conscious of the struggle – now to do or die?
When will these scales fall away from my eyes?

What will I say when days of wrath descend:
When the money-gods take all my life away:
When the death knell sounds
And peace is a flag of far-flung blood and filth?

When will I understand the cheated and the cheaters;
Their paltry pittance and cold concessions to my pride?
When will I burst from my kennel an angry mongrel,
Lean and hungry and tired of my dry bones and years?

by Margaret Walker

One Reply to “Since 1619”

  1. At times we be be scared to live or scared to die ; at times we may fear neither. Matter can present itself in a solid, liquid or gas form. I love the entire poem & my two most stand out lines “when will these scales fall away from my eyes” and “And peace is a flag of far- flung blood and filth?” This style of poetry is like Free Verse.

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