Monday, November 17, 2008

"the lives grown out of his life"

Some of us were lucky to be in the room tonight when Cornelius Eady kicked off the inaugral reading of the UCI Black Writers Series by reciting this poem of Robert Hayden:

Frederick Douglass

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.


And it just went on up from there...


Next reading in the series is in May with the magnificent Claudia Rankine.


Robbi said...

Thanks for keeping us appraised of these things, Lisa, or I surely would have missed that wonderful reading.

Erica said...

Yes, thank you. I wish I could have been there.

Rebel Girl said...

It sure was great.

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