Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden

When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty,

this beautiful and terrible thing, needful to man as air,

usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,

when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,

reflex action; when it is finally won;

when it is more than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:

this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro

beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world where none is lonely,

none hunted, alien, this man, superb in love and logic,

this man shall be remembered.

Oh, not with statues' rhetoric, not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,

but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

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