Course:EDCP333/racism/Poems

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Poems

Race (by Cang Dao)

People don’t know how
I feel.
“You can’t talk like us.”
The words hurt me more than
it hurts them to say.

I’m getting an attitude.
Too many jokes,
I cannot accept it.
What’s wrong about me
that may not be accepted by them?
Is it the way I look or the way I talk?

How many languages can you
speak?
I speak four.

Is there something from
me that you want?
My beautiful brown eyes or
my lovely skin?
Don’t get jealous.

I’m here to share with you
my knowledge,
but I’m not here for you
to make fun of me.

Like a newspaper that can
show words but not voice,
people just don’t know
how I feel.

(Reprinted from Rites of Passage 1996-1997, a literary magazine written and produced at Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon)


Questions from a Worker Who Reads (by Bertolt Brecht)

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished,
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis,
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Years’ War. Who Else won it?

Every page a victory. Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Even ten years a great man.
Who paid the bill?

So many reports.
So many questions.


To a Freedom Fighter (by Maya Angelou)

You drink a bitter draught.
I sip the tears your eyes fight to hold
A cup of lees, of henbane steeped
in chaff. Your breast is hot,
Your anger black and cold,

Through evening's rest, you dream
I hear the moans, you die a
thousands' death.
When can straps flog the body
dark and lean, you feel the blow,
I hear it in your breath.


EQUALITY (by Maya Angelou)

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and making time.

You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I'm just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?

We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you've heard me crying,
and admit you've seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb through my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.


White Thing (by Anne Spencer)

Most things are colorful things-
-the sky, earth, and sea.
Black men are most men;
but the white are free!
White things are rare things;
so rare, so rare
They stole from out a silvered
world--somewhere.

Finding earth-plains fair plains,
save greenly grassed,
They strewed white feathers of
cowardice, as they passed;

The golden stars with lances fine,
The hills all red and darkened pine,
They blanched with their want of power;
And turned the blood in a ruby rose
To a poor white poppy-flower.

They pyred a race of black, black men,
And burned them to ashes white; then,
Laughing, a young one claimed a skull,
For the skull of a black is white, not dull,
But a glistening awful thing

Made, it seems, for this ghoul to swing
In the face of God with all his might,
And swear by the hell that sired him:
"Man-maker, make white!"


Freedom Fighter (song by Rainbow)

You can’t control me tell me what to do
Chained in mediocrity so I can be like you
I am not a statue not part of a machine
I’m sick and tired of the whole routine
Calculate your future, computerise your past
Instant replay if it’s gone too fast
Take away my freedom, take away my home
I’m only human but it might now show
I’m not made of stone

I’m a freedom fighter I got something to say
I’m a freedom fighter get out of my way

Hide behind your politics, hide behind your rules
Tell me I’m a man but you treat me like a fool
It’s the same old story with a different name
You give us all a number and nothing changes
Out in the winter of a world upon it’s knees
Everyone is watching but no one sees
You can’t take my freedom you know it is my right
If you try and stop me I’m gonna fight
With all of my might

I’m a freedom fighter and I’m taking command
I’m a freedom fighter and I’m making a stand

Fighting for breath as the world gathers speed
Time’s running out for the things that I need

I’m a freedom fighter I gotta take a stand
I’m a freedom fighter, yeah that’s what I am
I’m a freedom fighter I can’t take it no more
I’m a freedom fighter no no more
I’m a freedom fighter but I’m not afraid
I’m a freedom fighter get out of my way.


Cross (by Langston Hughes)

My old manes a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder were I’m going to die,
Being neither white nor black?


The best poem of 2006
This poem was nominated by the UN as the best poem of 2006. Written by an African child

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray

And you call me coloured?


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