Thursday, October 13, 2011

Arna Bontemps: A Black Man Talks of Reaping


A Black Man Talks of Reaping
1902–1973

 
I have sown beside all waters in my day.
I planted deep, within my heart the fear
that wind or fowl would take the grain away.
I planted safe against this stark, lean year.

I scattered seed enough to plant the land
in rows from Canada to Mexico
but for my reaping only what the hand
can hold at once is all that I can show.

Yet what I sowed and what the orchard yields
my brother's sons are gathering stalk and root;
small wonder then my children glean in fields
they have not sown, and feed on bitter fruit.

Dedicated to my cousin G. Bess; He shares a birthday with Mr. Bontemps on today, October 13th, and he has sown many good things in the time I have known him.  I'm certain there was more before we became close; nevertheless, I pray that he reaps a generous harvest.  I'm sure that he will only take that generous harvest and sow even more.  This is the reason God gives seed to the sower (2 Corinthians 9:10).  God bless you G.  Peace~

Sources:  poetryfoundation.org and wikipedia.
Photo by:  Carl Van Vechten, 1938




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