Friday, July 8, 2016


People who know me, or who follow my blog, know that I am a long-time teacher, who has spent my entire career in urban settings. They also know that I am Anglo, never married, and that I have two sons, African American, that I adopted in 2003. My sons are now almost 21 and 22.

I am heartsick very time I read of the death of another African American man at the hands of police. I talk to my sons often, as best as an Anglo female can, about how to behave around police. I am afraid every single time they leave my house.

And yet at the same time, I am no less heartsick when I read the news of last night's events in Dallas. I imagine spouses who have spent a sleepless night in hospital waiting rooms, people who will be making funeral arrangements, little children waking up to learn that their daddy or mommy will not come home.

This morning, a friend posted this quote from Alan Paton's novel, Cry the Beloved Country,  first, published in 1948. I read the quote and found my poem for today.

"American Elegy"

the beloved country

for the unborn child
that is the inheritor
of our fear.

Let him not
love the earth
too deeply.

Let him not laugh
too gladly
when water runs
through his fingers,

nor stand too silent
when the setting sun
makes red the veld
with fire.

Let him not
be too moved
when the birds of his land
are singing

nor give
too much
of his heart
to a mountain
or valley

For fear
will rob him
of all

if he gives
too much.

Alan Paton
Cry the Beloved Country

Katie, at The Logonauts, is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today.


Joy said...

Beautiful creation. Thank you for "finding" this poem and sharing it. Poetry can heal. I will look for the beauty in our world.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

Powerful poem, words run out like water, when too much hate silences us. I do think fear is at the root of it. A hug for you and your sons, who are needed in this world.

Tara said...

Ah, this was the perfect poem for today - thanks, Carol.

Ruth said...

This is a frightening world. Heartsick with you.

Linda B said...

It is all heartbreaking, and I know that you fear for your sons, and I wish it didn't have to be. Also, I imagine we both worry for this time, and want a new world for our grandchildren. This is a beautiful poem, Carol.

KatApel - said...

Your poem is so beautiful but sad, Carol. As is your perspective. You offer a powerful voice and perspective for acceptance and understanding and love. Praying for you all.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Thank you, Carol.

Katie TheLogonauts said...

So much heartbreak all around. Thank you for finding this wonderful poem to fit.

Mary Lee said...


Mary Lee said...

Perfect choice.

Bridget Magee said...

The perfect poem for the current state of our country and the world as a whole. Thank you, Carol.

Alice Nine said...

Powerful! Your "found poem" really moved me because I love our country and I love my grandchildren. And fear grows in places without love. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."
Note: Meanings less associated with the word "perfect" -- "'perfect' love" = "pure" love; "'perfected' in love" = "completed" or "fulfilled" in love (using the meaning for perfect as used when we speak of the perfect tenses of the verb).