If I'd Had A Harp

He came in from another long day
on his summer job and because I’d been
home a few minutes I had some news.
Not new news. Just same old exile news.
“We killed another black man today.”
He sighed. I sighed. I’d swear the
kitchen sink we stood at sighed.
One of us, I can’t remember which, said,
“Well that’s no good.” And we sighed again.
The sorrowful sighing of a father and son.
Does it count for anything at the end
of a long summer’s day? I don’t know.
He walked away to claim a shower while
I tinkered at something for dinner.
While the waters of Babylon rinsed the
dirt from my son’s body I thought of
Zion, and sighed again at our captivity.
If I’d had a harp I would have stepped
outside, and hung it in a willow’s tears.

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  1. Jeannie Prinsen on July 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Hi John, I’ve only recently discovered your blog and poetry; I’m so moved by everything you write. Thanks for sharing your beautiful gift.

  2. Jody Lee Collins on July 7, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    No harp here, just tears.

  3. Jim Harrison on July 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Amen. #howlongolord

  4. Annie B on July 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    No harp. No willow. But the sighing…

  5. Jenna lambeth on July 7, 2016 at 4:11 pm


  6. Lynn Schriner on July 7, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    While the weeping wandering souls…wash in the waters of hope

    Thanks John

  7. pastordt on July 7, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Yes. And how I wish it were not so.

  8. ElenaLee on July 7, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    After watching African American friends’ comments and posts on my facebook news feed today, I’ve seen as never before the deep anger, sorrow, and despair that the system will ever change. I don’t think our (outsiders’) sorrow and tears mean much unless they lead to action. Probably it’s the best beginning, though. So here’s hoping we all (especially myself, who am given to inertia) do something.

  9. Ruth Brown on July 9, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Psalm 137


  10. Michele Morin on July 9, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for singing the Lord’s song in this strange land.

  11. Pilgrim125 on July 11, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    How do we seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God in this evil time?

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