Treasure Island

James B. Earley

(5 April 1934 / Mounds, Il)

Sultry Summer's Evening

A frail…old Negro lady
…Born…in Lincoln's day
Who knew the taste of freedom
Only… when… she passed …away

Imprisoned… by the hatred
Which gnawed… within her soul
Agony written upon her face
… From the story…that she told

Of a sultry......summer’s evening
She was but…a child…back when
Her sister…was dragged away…in the dark
…By a group of sullen men

On horseback…silhouetted
Against…a glazed…moonlight
…And White folk...until her dying day
Reminded her…of…the night

When the cabin…in the clearing
Where the slaves called home
Was violated and desecrated
As she stood there…all alone

In the yard…and wept
…And silently…prayed
A vigil…with a purpose
Through the night…she stayed

Returning late…the next morning
……Of a sweltering day
They heaved a box…where she stood
… Without a word…rode away

...Though...they disappeared...forever...
Yet…their faces plagued her mind
…There…beside…her sister’s body…
Lying in the box…
.................................They made
............................................. ......................Of pine

Dedicated to my paternal grandmother, Sallie Virgie Earley 1855 -1948.....who was born into 'Slavery'...during...the 'American Holocaust, ' witnessed this a young child, and was consumed with a bitter hatred as a result of the experience. 'Sultry Summer's Evening' is a tribute to her memory....with the prayer...that she death...found that measure of peace...which was so tragically elusive....during her sojourn.....on this earth.

Submitted: Monday, February 25, 2008
Edited: Tuesday, June 04, 2013

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  • Naidz Ladia (4/13/2009 4:42:00 PM)

    this is a revelation of past incidents..this is quiet ends in tragedy.........
    the appearance and the expression is very unique, , it is well presented, ,
    naizz (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Fowler (4/13/2009 3:23:00 PM)

    The implications of this poem are very profound. One tragic
    summer evening never to be forgotten. Very touching.

    Warm regards,

    Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Dee Daffodil (4/13/2009 11:21:00 AM)

    It sickens me to think that incidents such as this actually took place. How diabolical we can be...
    Dee (Report) Reply

  • Patti Masterman (4/13/2009 9:59:00 AM)

    Your imagery sent chills, for sure. What a hellish experience this must have been.
    My imagination cringes and doesn't even want to go there! I suppose many details
    of this story have been lost; but it is such an important narrative. It explains
    so much about the screwed up state of the world, past and present. It is important because we need to never forget this part of history (as, alas, your poor Grandmother could not) . (Report) Reply

  • Karin Anderson (sorry can't vote or comment) . (4/13/2009 1:48:00 AM)

    This is so heart wrenching James and so many of us have to thank our lucky stars we have not known such horror. Your dedication is commendable, and I am sure your Grandmother rests in peace. You have conveyed the story with great sensitivity and skill. Top marks! Karin Anderson (Report) Reply

  • Marie Shine (4/12/2009 1:23:00 PM)

    Oh James this is a very beautiful tribute to your dear Great Grandmother.It is a very poignant story told from your heart.What awful memories your dear Great Gran had imprinted on her innocent mind at such a young age.It is easy to understand why she felt as she did, bless her.Life was horrendous back then, but you know James, we never learn, and in some places in the world it still goes on today.Thank You for sharing.I love this poem and have given it a well deserved 10. (Report) Reply

  • Seema Chowdhury (4/12/2009 7:54:00 AM)

    a very nice heartfelt poem. true life is not alway fair some people have to face lots of hardships. may her soul rest in peace. (Report) Reply

  • Meggie Gultiano (4/12/2009 5:31:00 AM)

    a sad and touching piece, and i could not help my tears to fall.How cruel that must be.
    I could not imagined having a relative to have experienced like that.
    Thank you, James for the sharing.Take care of you.Shalom
    Meggie (Report) Reply

  • Cindy Kreiner Sera (4/12/2009 1:51:00 AM)

    Poignantly beautiful but so tragic, my blood froze. How proud you must be knowing of their strength to survive this inhumane period they called a life. OMG-D has man learnt nothing yet? (Report) Reply

  • Bonnie Collins (4/11/2009 11:18:00 PM)

    What a beautifull but sad, tribute to your grandmother, and many others who too felt the horrors of a time when all have not quite understood the necessary evil that transpired between two different colors, creatated by the same God, and yet so very painfull to understand why? ? ? Very nicely written, and has such a toucing flow... (Report) Reply

  • Lynda Robson (4/11/2009 4:03:00 PM)

    Your Grandmother witnessed a terrible wrongdoing, it breaks my heart to think of the injustices that occurred in America when black people were slaves, a very touching piece James, she was a brave lady,
    Lynda xx (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (4/11/2009 3:44:00 PM)

    Stories like this are heart breaking. How people can do that to others is beyond understanding. There must be a special place in heaven for folks like your grandma who suffered at others' stupidity and anger. You did a great job telling her story and she would be very proud. In my poem Black History Month I tried to express me feelings about this very thing. '10+! '

    Warm Wishes,
    Marilyn (Report) Reply

  • Fay Slimm (4/11/2009 11:18:00 AM)

    Dear friend - - the narrative you have written is at once filled with horror and shame and yet has the dignity of a dear lady who could not forget her experience and thereby find some sort of peace.... your tribute is worthy dear James and your grandmother was obviously worthy to warrant such a fine piece of poetry as this...... may we all hang our heads for injustices which continue to this day...... Fay.... (Report) Reply

  • Linda Winchell (4/11/2009 9:03:00 AM)

    I want you to know that this poem truly touched my heart deeply! I have a older black women named Magnolia, whom lived as a slave and her parents, and theirs. She told me some horrible stories of how the blacks at that time were treated. Not even considered second class. How sad mankind is in the judgements they make on others. God forgive them, for most of mankind can not! This poem is worth more than a ten Sir James Earley. God Bless and continue to write as you do from your heart to others. Linda (Report) Reply

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