Lynn W. Petty
I Walked The Walk - Poem by Lynn W. Petty
I walked my morning walk, and met an old
And bearded black man who was sitting on
The sidewalk, leaning back against a wall.
Attempting to step over his outstretched,
Impeding limbs, he said to me in clear
And lucid voice, 'Are we not all the same?
Are we not all the same? ' he asked again.
A little startled by his inquiry,
I said, that we are not the same, that we
Are very different, from fingertips
To faces, different religions let
Alone our races. No, I said, that we
Are not the same, so why do you persist?
'To make you understand. Does not the same
Quintessence course my veins as courses yours?
Do not all souls speak with the same grammar
And syntax of one spiritual mind?
Is not each soul a fragment of this whole
Stupendous Universe? Would not all souls,
Combined, reflect the face of God? Does not
The Angel Death put on our life the sting
Of death at birth? Are we not all the same? '
Responding with a No! I saw him smile
A slight all-knowing smile and, then he asked,
'Just what do you possess in this wide world? '
I confidently said, I have my life,
And all the things therein that I possess.
'Insatiable the vanity of man.
He comes into this world with only his
He lives, he dies, he leaves it all behind,
Including his corporeal remains,
Departing this journey with less than that
With which he entered in this life, despite
His rage, petitions, pageantry and wealth.
Dissolving in the furnace flame of death,
He leaves his shrinking ego seen within
The mist of his evaporating self.
Thus, man must pass away, his name is gone;
He perishes from record and from mind;
All future generations have no thought
Nor recollection of his pomp and might.
Each age is but a volume to be cast
Aside. All monuments to him are gone;
His life a tale one takes from history books
Which lie upon the dusty shelves of time.
Why, you do not possess your next pulse beat.
Now, tell me, once again, what you possess! '
Profound, I said, with weakened argument.
But, logic still prevails. Look at our skin,
Therein is where my reasoning exists.
Is not your color black and I am white?
There is dissimilarity between
Us all. I ended with an air of pride.
He looked at me disdainfully and said,
'Our souls are woven from the self-same thread,
From different dye lots, that is true but, are
Our souls not woven on the same life skein?
Regardless of the hue are they not from
The same lamb's wool, the cotton plant? The source
Of fiber of our souls is just the same.
Look past this manifest illusion, flesh
And tell me if the truth be seen or not.'
I saw and, what I saw confounded me.
I saw the textile of the weave of soul.
'Now tell me, are we not the same? ' he asked.
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