That land Langston said was far away
That land that makes dark faces glow
That land is nearer than he thought,
for in the mirror it may be assayed.
To some its a lifetime’s horror
this land and its inherited darkness
for it spreads wide in one region,
round and high in others —
But they should not ignore how
shaped like mountains, alive all over with colour,
foreign eyes seek to find paths to their interior.
That enticing land is nearest the willing
who hear the slur of blood rich in colour
and stop to realize history runs through it
like the Patowmeck through the capital,
refreshing and sustaining precious life.
Nothing of that darkness-giving land begs tears
since nothing blood-bred is forgotten or far away,
whether brought offshore in whale belly,
or in that of the Amistad.
In Washington today you find it in hallowed halls
though once it traipsed ghost-like along dirt roads
to bend in the tobacco fields of a warring nation
boiling with desire to one day know freedom.
Dear Langston, it is not so far;
We need not cross the Atlantic
under a searing sun, as once thought; And
so celestial or mortal beings may observe
in the stories of disunion we record,
that darkness is not a land,
it is an ever-ready companion.