Writings and Books . . .

New Poem . . . “Fiercely Reminiscent”

Fiercely Reminiscent

Earl Stewart, Jr.

As the weather turns icy in the center of a Nation,

My soul within me is troubled by the cool stillness of the waters.

I think of the witnesses to time and eternity, forefathers of purpose, who kept the charge in the days gone by, who recognized a God we all have to glorify

And how the days turning into nights elicits on this very special day similar meaning of our enduring struggle for truth and peace—our civilly disobedient, armless fight.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

That the value of my blackness is taken for granted, is misconstrued and mishandled,

And is priced at the barrel of a handgun, as I make my way quiescently down the streets of my world.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

That a people whose ancestors were brought against their will to help found and set the economic pace of a country, a nation they helped to foster with incomprehensible faith, continue to find it difficult to appreciate the nature of our worth to the society in which we directly take part.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

How speeches of purpose and prose are re-illuminating hearts and stirring spirits of action

To find peace somewhere and help somehow, reminding us all that God is sovereign, yielding legitimacy and necessity to the heartbeat of our everlasting fight.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

Of lynchings on the oak trees of Alabama, as the burnings of crosses in white sheets as wizards and workers of hate, and as the ethos of malice perpetuated throughout the streets of the South, of releasing dogs on children, of Emmett Till’s corpse lying in a casket mangled and yet a potent motif of the time, of my Grandfather being called a “Nigger,” and your Grandmother being labeled a “Nigra.”

I find it fiercely reminiscent, fiercely reminiscent indeed, of literacy tests and poll taxes, of being stopped by the police driving in my own neighborhood, of being labeled dark and dangerous when all I strive to do is serve and help; of being called boy, of my people being immortalized infamously in chants in Harrison, Georgia, such as “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo, Catch a Nigger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo.”  Of reading the engraved inscription on the train station in Macon, Georgia: “Colored Only,” as if it were meant to be a permanent fixture on the tables of our minds.  Of learning of a street sign in Forsyth, Georgia, intended to warn every person of color passing and progressing through life, “Nigger, don’t let the sun go down on your head.”

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

That what Medgar was shot for in the driveway as his children listened, what Malcolm articulated as “by any means necessary,” what Martin deemed the moral Zeitgeist of a movement being the “fierce urgency of now,” and what Mahatma labeling himself as a “soldier of peace” was for, makes great strides in days long after their physicality ceased to be and their seeing the fruit of their labor of love and humanity.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

That my late Grandmother’s work as “the help” for a family in 1960s Augusta, Georgia, the struggles she endured and the disparagement she faced, continues to be the impetus for change in an era of ongoing denigration of the color and creed of her people, as she sleeps peacefully in wait for the Rapture.

I find it fiercely reminiscent,

Of Selma and Montgomery, of the sit-ins in Greensboro, of the riots in 1968 after a King was deemed fit to assassinate, of time and eternity, of hope and peace, of slavery’s march into freedom, of Jim Crow’s South and the Ballad of Birmingham I read and experienced as a middle-school student, of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, of the sermons at Ebenezer, of the call for change, of Trayvon and Michael, of Sanford, Florida, and of Ferguson, Missouri, of my state and your city, of yesterday, today, and unfortunately tomorrow lest we change our minds to the stigmata of the past and be reminded that troubles, although seemingly long-lasting—they don’t last.

I find it fiercely reminiscent, given the marches and protests last night and today, of yesterday’s calls to action with hope yielded by faith in a God of all.

I find it fiercely reminiscent, of Him bearing His cross with the help of Simon the Cyrenian, a man of Africa, up the hill of Golgotha, to be nailed to the tree for all, including his Mother, to see.

The story of time will tell, indeed

Of a movement toward change, of a world in desperate need.

Prayers are being lifted up in hope that peace and harmony and our desire to dwell together in unity

Will, at some point, take the lead.

For God is good, if it be His will, good will triumph, always—evil must concede.

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