As far as heart can reach,
Turning the Apostle's page
Or Thomas, who would teach
Peace to the heart's rage.
(Before a mob of 10,000 at Owensboro, Ky.) Plaint
I, Rainey Betha, 22,
From the top branch of race-hatred look at you.
My limbs are bound, though boundless the bright sun
Like my bright blood which had to run
Into the orchard that excluded me.
Now I climb death's tree.
The pruninghooks of many mouths
Cut the black-leaved boughs.
The robins of my eyes hover where
Sixteen leaves feel that were a prayer:
Sixteen mouths are open wide,
The minutes, like black cherries,
Drop from my shady side.
Oh who is the forester must tend such a tree, Lord?
Do angels pick the cherry-blood of folk like me, Lord?
"Baby's in jail; the animal day plays alone"
Baby's in jail; the animal day plays alone,
tame as the animal baby behind the bars of the crib:
the cub whose nose has not yet dipped
in the reek of excitation,
whose claws have not unbound the hide of habit,
nor scratched at pride, the skin,
and tasted sensation's blood.
Baby will come to grief and love.
Visitors to the family zoo
do not go to see a vegetarian tiger.