On Pauli Murray’s Dark Testament

I’ve been reading Patricia Bell-Scott’s “The Firebrand and the First Lady” which is about the friendship between Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt, Murray being the Firebrand, Roosevelt being the First Lady. Throughout the book Murray’s poem, “Dark Testament” is mentioned several times. Of course I had to go find it. And yes, as I read it I found myself struggling to catch my breath.  Have a look see for yourself.

DARK TESTAMENT: VERSE 8

Hope is a crushed stalk

Between clenched fingers

Hope is a bird’s wing

Broken by a stone.

Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty —

A word whispered with the wind,

A dream of forty acres and a mule,

A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest,

A name and place for one’s children

And children’s children at last . . .

Hope is a song in a weary throat.

Give me a song of hope

And a world where I can sing it.

Give me a song of faith

And a people to believe in it.

Give me a song of kindliness

And a country where I can live it.

Give me a song of hope and love

And a brown girl’s heart to hear it.

 

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