Poet Souls

by Tselane Mbou

Stolen from Africa in her 7th year of life
Given as a gift to Wheatley’s wife

She wrote a poem to George Washington
Died at thirty-one her work stolen and undone

I wonder what was your true name given to you at birth
To you Phillis even as a slave you left a legacy upon this earth

Yes Jupiter! He edited your poems
So you could not tell of the injustice done to your people
First black man to be published, but never considered an equal
In code you wrote a poem to Phillis and
Yes Hammon, they are still trying to kill us.

And to you Henry Dumas
Murdered in the guise of mistaken identity
You created a passion the white world didn’t want to see.

We “Still Wear the Mask” Paul Lawrence Dunbar
You were the first to gain National Recognition
in this land of oppression
Your words gave us the thrust of cultural nationalism

We are still “Pounding” our way out of mental slavery David Diop
Action to words, I pray will never stop

To the poets before me I cherish your bravery
to challenge the way things were done.
Bravo to the poets left unsung

Event though you were ashamed of your African ancestry
Jean Toomer, you gave us “Song of the Son”. 
You looked white with a black seed inside
I hope you found peace before you died.

William Stanley Braithwaite
Living on a land so full of hate
“Rhapsody” was your song to me

My dear Claude McKay
we are still a poets at war
“Think you I could not arm me with a gun
and shoot down ten of you for ever one
of my black brothers murdered , burnt by you?

Oh yea! You got me with that one
Singing the Revolutionary song

To all the poets before me
Who created the movements that creates the 
poets of today
Harlem Renaissance
Cultural Nationalism

George Moses Horton
Francis E.W. Harper
Langston Hughes
Allain LeRoy Locke
James Weldon Johnson
Countee Cullen and Walter White

I give to thee, my promise to continue thy legacy

To those still here upon this earth with me and too numerous to mention

Nathaniel MacKay
Kaki Madhubuti
Clarence Major
Shara McCullum
Toi Derricotte
Gwendolyn Brooks
Jason Franklin
Amiri Baraka

Make it possible for the youth to remember those who opened the door for destiny
and continue the struggle through our poetry.

Continue the words that will make humans listen
That will make foreheads glisten
when they hear the sounds of truth.

Poet Souls by Tselane Mbou

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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