The walk of the sufferer is slow and staggered. Every step taken with foreboding and trepidation. They are worn and emaciated in appearance, for they are haggard. The longing of their souls is like a never ending prayer sent up from darkest of the dark and desolate places. To count their stories is to see a sea of despondent faces. I have dreamed many dreams of tranquility, and of that oh so peaceful stream. I have contended with the darkness, and now know it intimately; it is not a friend of mine, for it seeks to destroy me. I have heard the loud cawing of the crow; I have seen the terrors of the night and the eyes that glow; it has fed on my misery and sorrow. It has fattened its belly with the essence of the lost souls that are now hollow. It has rendered men soulless vessels of bone, blood, and muscle. It has taken. It has devoured. The souls of men seek reprieve and comfort, but their portion has been akin to an eternal purgatory without the promise of heaven. The weight and heaviness of sorrow and sadness, crushes the spirit and turns it to fine dust. The darkness comes quickly and inhales the remnants with vile euphoria. Like vultures to putrid and rotten flesh, there is nothing left to denote what was, or what could have been, just nothingness and the foul smelling void intermingled with horror.
Weary souls seek refuge
To come in from the cold
From dark and perilous nights,
And fierce and dogged fights
As they walk into that light
Oh, that divine and wondrous light,
And no more face that night,
That dark and treacherous night;
Where sleeplessness abounds
And sorrow and misery are found,
They were once in anguish bound
In torment they were bound,
But now have found their way
To that promised and glorious day
In peacefulness and light;
To the world they say goodnight,
In tranquil rest they say goodnight.
The cries and tears of the children spill and flow into the rivers and streams; the ocean rises and her waves are lifted up in anger with the tears of my people. The blood and tears are mixed and infused into the lakes and bayous. The waters are perpetually restless and troubled by the souls and spirits of they that shed their blood and were oppressed. The eyes that glow in the night and the creatures of the water hear the loud cries of the souls and the pain in their voices. They cry out for vengeance, and they scream for justice. They weep for remembrance. The earth underneath is shaken and moves violently. Tears ripple through the waters with lightning speed and the soil is saturated with blood.
In the deep dark of night everything is suddenly again quiet. The creepy crawlers of the night and they that dwell in the deep midst of the lakes and bayous are afraid and tense with anticipation. For they have witnessed the injustices; they have witnessed the generations of they that have suffered and have bled, and have shed tears, and have been tortured, and have cried out to God, and have been beaten, and have been broken, and have been enslaved, and have been raped, and have been trodden, and have been unloved. On the banks of the rivers and lakes; the streams and the bayous; stand the ghosts of my people. Eyes fierce, wide and illuminated; They line up side by side in tattered rags. Their wounds show and bear witness to their past lives. Their blood is dried on them. They line up. The elders and the ones with gray hair. The men and the women. The young ones. Hand in hand they line up, and in silence they look on. The children hold the hands of their mothers; the mothers hold the hands of their men; the men hold the hands of the elders and they look on.
Blood sheds from old wounds and tears begin to flow from wide illuminated eyes, but they show no emotion. In silence and in the dark of night they look on. My heart is dismayed by the pain of my people; my eyes, red and sodden with heavy sorrows. As if in a dream, I stretch forth my arms. The moonlight reflects on the dark waters; Polaris shines bright in the night’s sky. They beckon me to come forward, and I oblige as I slowly approach. My people, with bare feet, tattered rags, thick scars on backs, deep wounds, tears flowing from eyes and faces emotionless, stretch forth their arms. The old and the young; the little children, stretch forth their arms to embrace me. In their embrace I am overcome. My God, I am overcome with emotion. Each one begin to whisper closely in my ear the story of their life and pain. The whispers grow louder and I am caught in a whirlwind of their voices; they take me to the places of their deepest suffering and to the places where they wept.
My whole being is shattered by the reality of their past existence. I stand silent. My spirit is filled with fury and sorrow. A potent mix that boils and stirs fire within me. What am I to do? The generation of tears have flown and permeated the earth. What once grew here no longer grows. Their pain and rage have impregnated her and she is vexed by the plight and the affliction of them. The earth will not be moved. She will not forgive. she will not give up her stores and she will not yield her crops; the tobacco; the sugarcane; the cotton will all wither and die. The trees where my people were hanged have shed their leaves. Their roots are rotten and their once sweet fruit have turned bitter. The bumbled bee and the honeybee will not pollinate. The flowers and the once green grass is brown, scorched and sparse. Innocent blood has been shed here. Tears have fallen here. Enough to crack the dams and flow out violently into the vast rivers and oceans.
My people, my precious people; I love them. They peacefully fade away back to their place of rest, where there is no sorrow. One by one they go back to tranquility. I am left alone to bear witness. I scream out with all the air in my lungs and with every fiber of my being: You will be avenged! You are redeemed! With ghostly eyes they turn back and look; in haunted voices, my people whisper: Remember us; remember us.