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Race Relations

I sang in the sun

of my white oasis

as you broke stone

Then I sang and paraded

for the distant martyrs

loving the unknown

They lay still in the sun

of Sharpeville and Selma

while you broke stone

When you fled tyranny

face down in the street

signing stones with your blood

Far away I fell silent

in my white oasis

ringed with smoke and guns

Martyred in safety

I signed for lost causes

You bled on You bled on

Now I recommence singing

in a tentative voice

loving the known

I sing in the sun

and storm of the world

to the breakers of stone

You are sentenced to life

in the guilt of freedom

in the prison of memory

Haunted by brothers

who still break stone

I am sentenced to wait

And our love-hate duet

is drowned by the drum

of the breakers of stone

           for D.B.

from YinFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 1984
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Carolyn Kizer Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.