Originally penned by a slave-ship captain,
a confession of sorts;
this, his prayer of praise
for a conversion of heart.
Something struck that wretched man,
who chained kidnapped people in a hull
and ruthlessly carried them far
from family, from home.
Fifty-foot waves slamming the stern?
Gale-force winds shaking the masts?
Perhaps, the agonizing moans from the ‘cargo’?
Elijah’s quiet whisper or a still, small voice?
Whatever found him
shifted his stars
and altered his celestial navigation,
washing the scales from his eyes.
As I sail through my years,
privilege sweeping my bow,
I wonder how many black and brown lives
lay hidden, suffering under my blindness.
Time is clamoring for radical change.
Structures on cracked foundations
must fall to pieces and systems of bondage, break.
What will it take to turn the ship’s wheel?
Humility to kneel in repentance?
Strength to chant in solidarity?
Stamina to keep on keeping on?
A steady flow of silent tears?
I listen for sweet songs
that will offer needed salvation.
Where is the grace that will amaze
the soul of our nation?
photo credit: Ed Siderewicz