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Friday, April 1, 2016

Confederate History Month in Mississippi

Ode for the Confederate Living

"Both my masters went in grey suits,

and I loved the Yankee blue;

But I thought that I could sorrow

for the losing of them too;

But I could not, for I did not

know the half of what I saw,

Until they enlisted colored soldiers

and my Elias went to war."

Oral history from an ex-enslaved woman in Paul LaurenceDunbar's

"When Dey 'Listed Colored Soldiers"

You were not dead any of those days

you were alive;  now, alive you

want to pretend to be.  For shame.

For shame, your face distorts with cow's milk,

your words inked with lamb's blood, your hair

gray as Tate's hound bitch in the cellar,

gay as seeds planted in deltas and hills

and valleys of green insanity. For shame,

your labor stretches your neck, your legal nails

scratch for an unsuffered crucifixion.  For shame,

your losses retreat into your raving bones,

into your guilt unseen, your truth sequestered

in the gentle riot of the facts you breathe.

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