Two Poems


Charles McClain


From The Time You Were Born

From the time you were born, . . . .
      African blood flowing through your veins, rhythms of your
           heritage pulsating and pumping sounds of pride and
                struggle through your body and your brain.

From the time you were born, . . .
      like a star on the rise you hold the light that brightens
           the blackest sky. And with the spirit and pride you
                hold inside you are ready to spread your wings and fly . . .
                     and the world awaits you and all the gifts you possess.
                          And the world awakens; it comes alive and calls to you
                               to soar and fly, feeling the wind, clouds and sky.

From the time you were born, . . .
     wherever that place may be, this beautiful black seed was
          planted, planted to grow and be free . . .whether its bed of
               soil was a city of cement and steel, coldhearted haven,
                    midwest middle of the road village site, big city bright
                         with glamour and hidden sights, a grit and grace
                              paradise, or a down home dirt field south of the border,
                                   with the moon as the only streetlight. This Black
                                        seed was planted to grow . . .this Black seed
                                             planted to feel the sunlight.

From the time you were born, . . .
     precious, Black, beautiful, soul-hearted child, beating out
          the rhythms and rhymes with burning eyes, trying to
               maneuver and survive with a heartbeat that keeps track,
                   keeps time with the struggle that seeks to mess
                         with your life. . .with your mind. And you belong,
                              your purpose to live is a love supreme . . .
                                   this ain't no fantasy . . .this ain't no dream.

From the time you were born, . . .
     hand in hand with Brothers and Sisters who share your glory. . .
          share your plight . . . Malcolm, Martin and Stokley, Nat
               Turner . . .ready to love, ready to fight battles of civil and
                    human rights. Maya Agelou, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni,
                         Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Lorraine
                              Hansberry. . .just a few, writing and preaching the word,
                                   preaching the news, that enough is enough . . . injustice
                                        won't do, a new day is coming . . . it's coming on
                                             through. And deep down with it street poets called
                                                  rappers are with us too . . .rapping poetic street
                                                       songs and dancing a hip-hop rhythmic African
                                                            tribal dance capturing today and yesterday and
                                                                 and the past, removing that old smiling and
                                                                      grinning mask . . . Ain't no reason to run and
                                                                           hide, the mask removed reveals the love,
                                                                                pain, the struggle and the pride.

from the time you were born, . . .
     cornerstone of a new time, a new day, battles to be fought,
          with spirit and minds, not with Black victims victimizing
               Black victim crimes. The future is held in your hands,
                    it is for you to mold.

And let the story be proclaimed, let it be told . . . you are the
     hope and sculptor of a new day, you are the faith that presses
          the glory of god to its breast and exemplifies His grace and
               love. You are the voice that speaks of justice and equality
                    for all men and women.

You are the ears that hear the calling of leaders past and
     present, calling for unity, pride and freedom.

You are the ears that hear the calling of leaders past and
     present, calling for unity, pride ad freedom.

You are the candles that will light the way, dealing wit the
     ignorance that seeks to darken the pathway.

Messenger of hope, let your legacy be, with eyes wide open
     and a sober mind, all the work and struggle you can see,
          and all the freedom you will find with spirit . . . heart and
               free mind.

From the time you were born, . . .
     fro your Mother's womb came a new life, innocent and untouched
          y the world's deprivation, hatred and strife.And yet you
               must struggle in an ignorant world to recapture your God-
                    given right to be free . . . you must struggle to open up the
                         eyes and ears of your ignorant so-called enemy, and in
                              the process teach your Brothers and Sisters the
                                   definition of heritage and history.

Ain't no reason to subside from your journey, from your freedom ride.
Ain't no barrier too strong to hold you back.
Ain't no reason to give up or give out.
ain't no reason to crawl into a corner and drug yourself into a world of doubt.
Ain't no reason,if you're Black and filled with pride that you can't climb
      out and move on and seek the light of knowledge.
And the struggle was here from the time you were born.
And one day you can look into your children's eyes
And without compromise
You can say, "We have over-come our trials and tribulations this day
And . . . fro the time you were born, m child, freedom has been with us awhile.


"The Gospel Lived Inside My Mother's Heart. . ."

The gospel lived inside my Mother's heart. . .
     it was warm, like Sunday mornin',
     it was sweet, like honey, golden bright and smooth flowing,
     it was like an angel's song filled with love . . . that makes
     you feel like somebody . . . makes you feel that you living in
     God's world and you belong.

The gospel lived inside my Mother's heart . . .
     it was the mornin' sun-shine, delicate rays of light,
     it was love's healing salve. . . that brings relief from
     heartaches, pain and strife.

The gospel lived inside my Mother's heart . . .
     it was born and raised in Mississippi country-land,
     share-cropping and dealing with racism . . . never hard to find,
     dealing with a hard life, never refined, trying to maintain
     sanity and peace of mind.

The gospel lived inside my Mother's heart . . .
     it was nurtured by love, and survived on bitter soil,
     and took a stand in Mississippi country-land.
     And the given "word" was a gift from above, filled with
     hope, faith, and surrounded by love.
     And holding on. . . ain't nothin but a stroke,
     for someone who wears the gospel like a beautiful cloak, and
     believes in simplicity and love . . . a song for simple folk.

The gospel lived in my Mother's heart . . .
     it created fine ornate crocheted art, that was starched and shaped
     just right . . . to decorate a living room table or placed on a
     window seal to welcome in the northern city sun-light.

You see . . . the gospel moved up north, mid-west bound, looking
     for a piece of golden freedom . . . never really found.
     And money had to be made, a little extra on the side, and so
     the art work was sold to help feed seven children, all of which
     the gospel and Mama took great pride.

The gospel lived inside my mother's heart . . .
     its music was gentle wisdom, a spirit that never denied, that
     a prayer . . .prayed with faith would always come alive.
     And northern dreams and realities either break your spirit
     or set you free.
     And Mama's grace through the hardships she endured reached out
     and touched me.
     Forty-seven years on earth . . . was her time,
     multiplied by all the faith, hope, and spirit that reached
     out and touched others she left behind.

The gospel makes itself known and stays alive, when nurtured
     with love and truth . . . and never lies.

The gospel lived inside my Mother's heart . . .


Copyright © 1998 by Charles McClain

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