09 Every Pullman Porter

BERT:
AGING BOOKS, LIKE FINE WINE,
BECKON YOU, SO PULL THE TWINE.
FREE THE BOOK AND HOLD IT BY THE SPINE.

LET IT BEND AND UNFOLD.
SMELL THE MILDEW, TASTE THE MOLD.
HOLD THE STORY THEY HAVE NEVER TOLD.

WHEN THEY DARED TO BIND US, WHEN THE SEAS, WE CROSSED,
WHEN OUR FAM’LY’S STORIES TO THE WAVES WERE TOSSED,
THOUGH WE KEPT ON LIVING, WE STILL PAID THE COST,
WITH THE HIST’RY THAT WE ALL BUT LOST.

PAGE BY PAGE, TAKE IT IN.
FEEL THE PRINT BENEATH YOUR SKIN.
OPEN IT, AND LET THE TALE BEGIN.

TRIBE BY TRIBE, LAND BY LAND,
FEEL THE WIND UPON YOUR HAND.
CURL YOUR TOES, AND YOU MIGHT FEEL THE SAND.

THOUGH SIX HUNDRED PAGES MAY BE JUST A START,
IT’S A MAP UNFINISHED THAT WE STILL CAN CHART.
IT’S A TUNE UNWRITTEN WE MIGHT KNOW BY HEART,
EVEN IF IT’S ONLY JUST IN PART.

WHEN THE WORLD DERIDES US, TO THIS TRUTH I CLING:
THAT EVERY PULLMAN PORTER IS DESCENDED FROM A KING!

WHEN THEY DARED TO BIND US, WHEN THE SEAS, WE CROSSED,
WHEN OUR FAM’LY’S STORIES TO THE WAVES WERE TOSSED,
THEN OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES WERE THE PRICE IT COST
IN THE WAR OUR FATHERS NEARLY LOST.

BUT THE STORY NOW IS, FOR THE TIME, WE’RE FREE,
FREE TO GLIMPSE A FUTURE THAT OUR KIDS MIGHT SEE,
AND WE PRAY IT COMES, AND MAKE THIS SILENT PLEA,
KNOWING JUST HOW FRAGILE COLORED LIVES CAN BE.