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The first glory that sprang from

A ghetto’s sores, he was cut down.

A treachery of kin, paid assassins

Of our malice, their bullets

Defaced a name, had it not been

Black, rang martyrdom about the earth.

American pimp, dope addict, slinging

Gun and saddle on pilgrimage

To his painful Mecca, where the muezzin’s

Call to prayer is a heron’s faint cry

In the saturnalia of a city.

Come from a frontier land where fraud

And lies worn naked for survival,

Gave honest light denied the righteous

Outside the camel’s eye and safe

In our great society, his soul

Purged its own smoke from its sight;

Saw clear morning.

Brought fervour of the publican

Release for every one, you too can

Be saved if I am, you the non-

Hagglers, the rejected who reject

Babylon, who understand

Sin’s compulsion, have self-mercy,

Lay claim to your portion of salvation!

The Prophet brought to his oasis

Memory of his lust in the desert;

This is the time of those who err

The guilt-laden Abels, scarred like Cain:

“White man and brother, there has been

Too much blood between us.

Let me take the sword from your hand!”

Yet the first blood spilt was mine own.

From these discarded islands

Where the dust shrouds a sick horizon

Yet sunlight springs

Green fronds in. bamboo chalices;

Through slow windmills, crucified

Palms that shelter tight ships,

The sea sings his victory song.

He was a man who hated well and

Learnt to love, prepared to kill

And to be killed. With his life and death

Shattered private gates

In the multi-domed Kingdom of Fear!



February 1965