April is National Poetry Month and we will be sharing some favorite political poems over the next several days. I invite you to send me a comment or an email and share yours!
To kick off our celebration, we have a poem recommended to us by Eric Foner. On Sunday, we spent an hour with Prof. Foner discussing his latest book, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. Stay tuned for excerpts from the call.
Eric Foner recommended a beautiful tribute to Frederick Douglass, written by Robert Hayden.
When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,
this man, superb in love and logic, this man
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.