David Harris

(18 June 1945 / Bradfield, England)

Many Years Into Yesterday


On the banks of the Mississippi,
we fished for catfish
with a bent pin on a string.
We sat in ragged trousers
patched and tied at the waist with string.
We watched the paddle steamers gorged with passengers
waving as they passed our way.
In those summer days of our childhood
many years into yesterday.
With innocent eyes,
we watched the world turn.
Saw the sadness in our daddy’s eyes,
watched the sweat run over his ebony muscles,
and heard him cry in our mammy’s arms
when a day’s work was done.
We saw the boss man whip him
under a blazing sun.
Saw the scars on indignation across his back
and heard the mournful songs they sang
at the closing of the day
in the summer of our childhood
many years into yesterday.
Then the world turned harsh and bitter.
At sixteen, they stole your virginity
and they also stole my soul.
Worked us like cattle
from sunrise until sundown.
Tried to break our spirit
and drive us deep into the ground.
The paddle steamers still chugged
through the muddy waters
as they did in those summer days of our childhood
many years into yesterday.
With manhood and womanhood reached,
we were sold on cattle market day.
New masters were found
and we were used as breeding stock
as our daddy and mammy were
in those summer days of our childhood
many years into yesterday.
My scars of indignation
are burnt deep within my soul
that they made a rebel out of me.
In silence, you will mourn your brother
now hanging from a tree,
and always remember our times together
in those summer days of our childhood
many years into yesterday.

13-14 March 2009

Submitted: Saturday, March 14, 2009
Edited: Friday, April 03, 2009

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  • Melvina Germain (3/14/2009 11:28:00 AM)

    You clearly deserve a (10) , excellent poem, I have so mnay thoughts running through my mind right now, I can't even begin to express them. Great insight David, truth, speaking of truth. (Report) Reply

  • Lynda Robson (3/14/2009 6:29:00 AM)

    A poignant well composed piece David, a time when men weren't equal because of their colour.
    10 ++
    Lynda xx (Report) Reply

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