The black and white photo shows you seated
in a wooden chair on the porch of a cabin
built likely by slaves, later inhabited by you:
Black American Woman Elsie Mary Bell Griffin.
One side of the image is shadowed
like the memories, the love, and perseverance
that shape your face into a hymn of quiet dignity.
The planks of the cabin's wall are straight.
Like the rows of crops you used to hoe.
The window a rectangle of inked mysteries.
From a western corner of the late summer sky
light streams brilliant wonder into the picture,
rushing through leaves to kiss your head and arms.
Thus your eternal spirit confirms your weary blue bones.
Nowhere in the photo do we see the chopped-off heads
of snakes you later fed to the hogs. Their writhing corpses
would help explain the heavy boots that shelter your feet.
The news this year is a black man in the white house.
Perhaps when alive you shook his hand in a prophetic dream?
Your tears bled yesterday sealed the victory claimed today.
The light somehow is like a gentle jealous god
come to claim you solely for its own. The strength
of your calm gives you the power to surrender everything.
Bright rapture flows and you whisper, "Blessed be my Lord."
Radiance splits your heart and your soul explodes three new stars.
Death rattles the tin roof and you command, "Peace, be still."
© New Year's Day 2009
Causes Aberjhani * Supports
I make contributions to a number of charities through my lenses on Squidoo but the following are a few that interest me the most: