Current Events Poem

Black And White Issues

I wrote this poem in response to all the terrible tragedies occurring in the US now and how troubled I am by the way we have treated our black citizens throughout history. It is shameful.

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How Do I Make Amends?

Patricia A. Fleming © more by Patricia A. Fleming

Published: June 11, 2020

How do I cope with the shame that I feel
And then look you straight in the eye?
And how do I claim to stand for what's right,
Then accept disregard for your lives?

I grew up in a place that was safe and secure;
Opportunity knocked at my door.
I never accepted enough was enough
When the world always offered me more.

The schools I attended were cloaked in pure white,
And I watched from their lily white halls
While you had to fight for the little you had,
And I was just handed it all.

The black of your skin made you different from me,
And I learned from the powers that be
That we'd never be allies in living this life
And should remain on our side of the streets.

But as I grew up, I became so confused,
And I wished to get closer to you.
But how could you trust a word that I said
When all I'd shown you was callous abuse?

How do I make some sense of it all
When injustice can't ever make sense?
And how do I seek your forgiveness
When I can't begin to know how to repent?

The cycle of hatred is hard to escape
When adults in your life lead your way.
And how do you face that those "truths" once believed
Were just words to control and betray?

I know I can never right all the wrongs
Or remove all the scars left behind.
But my heart feels the weight of the hurt that we caused,
And your torment encumbers my mind.

I ponder incessantly on what I can do.
I don't want to seem shallow or fake.
Is it enough that I willingly stand by your side?
Or are there far too many amends to be made?

I need you to know how sorry I am,
Though I'm sure it's too little too late.
But I want you to see that I won't let you down
And your hope in me ever forsake.

My promise is now to bear witness.
I won't leave you alone in your pain.
And for the sake of your children and grandchildren,
I'll fight for a world filled with change.

Your survival is proof of your courage
And exposes what cowards we've been!
And I long for and pray that one day I'll be blessed
To, perhaps, hear you call me your friend.

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