the nook at jensan
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
The River sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours- your Passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Image credit: serazetdinov / 123RF Stock Photo
I am the mother of sorrows,
I am the ender of grief;
I am the bud and the blossom,
I am the late-falling leaf.
I am thy priest and thy poet,
I am thy serf and thy king;
I cure the tears of the heartsick,
When I come near they shall sing.
White are my hands as the snowdrop;
Swart are my fingers as clay;
Dark is my frown as the midnight,
Fair is my brow as the day.
Battle and war are my minions,
Doing my will as divine;
I am the calmer of passions,
Peace is a nursling of mine.
Speak to me gently or curse me,
Seek me or fly from my sight;
I am thy fool in the morning,
Thou art my slave in the night.
Down to the grave I will take thee,
Out from the noise of the strife,
Then shalt thou see me and know me–
Death, then, no longer, but life.
Then shalt thou sing at my coming,
Kiss me with passionate breath,
Clasp me and smile to have thought me
Aught save the foeman of death.
Come to me, brother, when weary,
Come when thy lonely heart swells;
I’ll guide thy footsteps and lead thee
Down where the Dream Woman dwells.
- New book lionizes America’s first black public high school, source of many African-American greats (thegrio.com)
February 17, 1963 Michael Jeffrey “Air” Jordan, hall of fame basketball player, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Maybe it’s fitting that Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday happens to fall on the NBA’s All-Star Sunday, because he is still the ultimate measure of basketball greatness.
Source: The Wright Museum
February 16, 1852 William Sanders Scarborough, generally believed to be the first African American classical scholar, was born enslaved in Macon, Georgia. Despite prohibitions against educating enslaved black children, Scarborough learned to read and write by the age of ten. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in classics in 1875 and his Master of Arts degree from Oberlin College.
Celebrated pianist, singer and television host Nat King Cole dies from lung cancer at 45-years-old. Cole, who first rose to stardom as a jazz pianist, churned out numerous hits, including “Nature Boy," “Mona Lisa," and “Unforgettable.”
Since his death, Cole’s music has endured. His rendition of “The Christmas Song" has become a holiday classic and many of his other signature songs are frequently selected for film and television soundtracks.
The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey" is believed to have been born in February of 1818 on Maryland’s eastern shore. As he noted on the opening page of his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, "I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it." He chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14.
A slave for much of his young life, he formally changed his name to Frederick Douglass when he escaped to New York in 1838.
Andrew “Rube" Foster, who is hailed as the “Father of Black Baseball” organizes the first baseball league for African-Americans, the Negro National League in Kansas City, Missouri.
Visit the the Negro League Baseball website to learn more about its history and hall of famers, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson and more.
Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.
The NAACP was formed partly in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, the capital of Illinois and resting place of President Abraham Lincoln. Appalled at the violence that was committed against blacks, a group of white liberals that included Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both the descendants of abolitionists, William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice. Some 60 people, seven of whom were African American (including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell), signed the call, which was released on the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.
Source top photo: BET
On this day February 7th, in 1965, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian, recording artist and actor Chris Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina.
"I don’t get high, but sometimes I wish I did. That way, when I messed up in life, I would have an excuse. But right now there’s no rehab for stupidity.—Chris Rock