Saturday, October 10, 2009

The stirring of the creative spirit upon return from the first of 3 National Black Caucus conferences held over the succeeding 3 years; this one in Chicago in February, 1968 ...

Ebony, the Night

As I lie 'neath the stars on this night of my day
playing the game that some poets play,
find synonyms for black, both poetic and good.
Sounds simple? You try. I do wish you would.
The world made the rules
and established the ante
proclaimed white as sinless,
and black straight from Dante ... .

Ebony, the night
Ebony, satin bright!
Star jewels held in black velvet hands
of Ebony, the night.

Onyx, set with a dream
that weaves through my mind 'til I seem
kiss warm and black born,
jet jazz of love.
Onyx, the dream.

Black image cries behind shuttered eyes
trying so hard to be good
glaciers and skies of ebony lies
I'd sing them away if I could.

Ebony, the night
Cradle me, O night!
Dark chin cupped close in black velvet hands
of Ebony, the night,
Ebony, Ebony, the night.

(copyright 1968, Betty Reid)

These are the lyrics to a song written upon return from that life-altering Chicago conference; one of many inspired by the experience of moving into my black identity fully and completely and without apology or regret.

I am still grateful to those African American brothers and sisters with whom I shared those days of confusion, discovery, and dedication to an American experience far greater than we ever might have imagined. And to those UU's (especially those from my own church) who supported that fateful journey at a time when it truly mattered. I'm convinced that throughout the ages there has always been those who were trying their utmost to "get it right." Unfortunately, much of history has been written by those who thought otherwise.

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