Treasure Island

James B. Earley

(5 April 1934 / Mounds, Il)

Black Man's Dilemma


Where would we go if told to leave
This land where our kidnapped forefathers grieved
For life as it once were
And not as destiny's mind perceived

We have no heritage to call our own
Where could we go if summarily thrown
From this oasis of bigotry and hate
Long....our adopted home

Would our foreign kin whose blood we share
In Africa and Europe.....welcome us there
Will they perhaps the least bit care
If ever we're told to leave
*
*
*
May the God who planned Slavery's plight
Declare aloud...our vested right
To this soil...and grant us strength
........To stand.....and fight

Should ever...we're told to leave

Submitted: Saturday, February 09, 2008
Edited: Monday, June 03, 2013

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  • Smoky Hoss (9/2/2011 12:48:00 PM)

    Such a powerful poem, enlightening indeed. May no country ever feel the need nor the right to remove any people based on the foolish idea 'they are different, therefore they must go'. Great writing. (Report) Reply

  • Christine Kerr (3/28/2009 8:03:00 AM)

    This is one poem that I took the time to read all responses, Slavery and The Holocaust are two different things that I can't believe, we as human could group together and say that it was OK to follow through with. My hat is off to you, in making people open their eyes as to how cruel this world can really be. It is a poem that I'm saving, so I can keep reminding myself to keep trying to be a better person. May God Bless You James. (Report) Reply

  • Patti Masterman (3/6/2009 3:05:00 PM)

    A people of such great talents and humanity, would never be told to leave, because it would impoverish this country beyond any hope of repair. There's a breathtaking depth in this sorrowful piece. (Report) Reply

  • Bertrina Shorter (2/18/2009 7:22:00 PM)

    aw man words cant xpress what the emotion i feel the words on ur page or so real and true beautiful and so moving. being an african american these scars run skin deep (Report) Reply

  • Fay Slimm (9/15/2008 11:01:00 AM)

    A question of appeal which will forever be asked, and oh so poignantly put. Bless you and thank you. Greetings from Fay. Cornwall U.K. (Report) Reply

  • Lynda Robson (9/11/2008 4:28:00 AM)

    An excellent piece James, I hope one day people will be accepted for who they are, not for what colour they are, and maybe the US will soon have a black man for President, I hope so,
    Lynda xx (Report) Reply

  • Patrick McFarland (8/21/2008 11:32:00 PM)

    I was so moved by this poem I added it to 'My Favorite Poems' list. Very impressive writing James. Very impressive indeed. (Report) Reply

  • Craig Anderson (7/31/2008 6:32:00 AM)

    After you read 'A Slave's Short Life' and told me to read this i found i was staggered by your pain in having to live a life in a country that deep down does not accept you as it's own. Some people often dream of riches and monetary wealth. But i just dream of a place we can all just be.
    It reminded me of the masses of forms we all have to fill at one time or another asking what race we are, but never is there a space just saying 'Human'.
    A poignant and brilliant piece of writing, a worthy 10. (As if it matters.) Best Regards. Craig. (Report) Reply

  • Dawn Slanker (7/7/2008 2:08:00 PM)

    Amazing poem...you made my eyes tear over. I can't imagine what it must be like to harbor such a fear. Not just for black americans, but for all cultures. I'm not part of your culture so I can't say that I know your fear, but I can tell you that I am trying my best to help ensure this won't ever happen by teaching my children about love and acceptance and that all people, regardless of culture, color, or religion, deserve respect and equality. Mr. Earley, you have a gift and it's through this gift that awareness is achieved and changes are made. Thank you for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Ron Flowers (6/9/2008 8:44:00 PM)

    James, this is an excellent poem. Besides being very well written and enjoyable to read, the message is outstanding. (Report) Reply

  • Helen C Capan (5/6/2008 3:42:00 AM)

    Out-stand-ing! America, for all of its troubles and flaws, is our home for those of us who live here whether white or otherwise, and you are perfectly right: no European, Latin, Asian, or African country from whence we have come would welcome us or care. This is a great tribute to our right to belong here! (Report) Reply

  • Irene Clark-hogg (3/21/2008 2:53:00 PM)

    James,
    You have aquired a fan, your work delights me.
    I have just pushed my husband in your direction too.
    Irene (Report) Reply

  • Rani Turton (3/21/2008 4:03:00 AM)

    There is a pain beyond words here 'a continued agony' as Fanon would put it. Every person who has left or been displaced knows this terrible pain but you will always have your place. The earth belongs to all. (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (2/23/2008 3:46:00 AM)

    So beautiful, so sad. This IS home for you and don't ever forget it. Life isn't easy or fair but I feel that God is fair and loves all of us, no matter what color, or what we believe in. God Bless you, James!

    Marilyn (Report) Reply

  • Melvina Germain (2/21/2008 9:15:00 PM)

    You paint a very sad picture here James, and it is necessary to call attention to this. Where would we go? It is possible we are no longer known in Africa, having left so many years ago, we don't truly belong in North America, since we were brought here against our will. My faith though tells me, we'll never have to worry because God will stand by our side and walk with us, giving us the strength we need once again to survive. Truthfully I don't think it's possible anymore for anyone to ask us to leave, we live here now and this is our home. Your question though does make one think. Wonderful poem James, so well expressed and your heartfelt feelings resonate all the way through. I'm so happy to have met you here.
    Melvina (Report) Reply

Read all 16 comments »

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