Vox Populi

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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: A Dirge for Our Murdered Sons

to the pounding of drums

Oh, America, how many tears do you want

before you stop killing our sons?

How many gallons of our black tears

does your belly need? How much blood,

how much grief, how many mothers

do you want to send to their graves, wailing?

How much sacrifice

does your god of hate demand?

Tell us, and we will ask our ancestors

to send us help.

Oh, America, oh, dear old America,

oh, you of the heartless part of America,

oh, corridor of hate,

oh, America that we so love,

oh, beloved America,

my people, this land of “freedom,” oh!

Neighbor, can I borrow your tears 

to help us put out this raging fire

from hate?

Oh, friend, please lend us your tears

to help our dry eyes find the water

we need to weep.

Oh, come, let us wail another of our sons,

come, my kinsmen, and sit on The Mat with me,

and let us wail together,

white and black, brown and all.

We alone are not sufficient to wail this dirge

we must sing to cover the many sons

we are burying.


Copyright 2022 Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is a survivor of the Liberian Civil War who now lives in Pennsylvania. Her many books include Praise Song for My Children: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House, 2020).

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

One comment on “Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: A Dirge for Our Murdered Sons

  1. Barbara Huntington
    January 24, 2022

    To the pounding drums and the blood that pounds in our ears. “This is wrong”

    Liked by 1 person

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