Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jack Hirschman: Poem for Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson
He who was stoned. Not drugged. Stoned
by fascist- thug rocks as he sang
for the people in Peekskill

in a vicious attack that 58 years later
remains the unforgettable
shame of shames of American culture;

whose voice was the ground where
all colors of the rainbow warmed themselves
on the black fire of his affirmations;

who entered our pores, who never separated
a forward pass, a Shakespearean soliloquy
or a worker's song from the revolutionary

transformation of all the world's peoples;
who IS the Old Man River flowing
into countless other voices

singing,when I open my mouth, singing
when you open yours, singing the dream
he rendered palpable, and vast, and deep.
Jack Hirschman is an overtly political poet who has been San Francisco's poet laureate. This poem is from his book of poetry All That's Left.

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