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!