Daniel’s Way in Cleveland, Ohio
photo by Jesus Crisis, 9 May 2009
Old Willie Belle Pruitt
by Daniel Thompson (1935-2004)
from Comforting the Dead [Green Panda Press, 2004]
When Willie Belle Pruitt met me, she said
You’ve got the picture of Jesus in your face
But Jesus! The pictures I had in my head
The hoses … the dogs … moments of fire and grace
What happened once in Bethlehem
Happened again in Birmingham
The innocent children dead
Now sometimes a name hurts worse than a stone
Sometimes a bone breaks like a stick
Sometimes what happens happens alone
Suddenly life is cut to the quick
O Willie Belle Pruitt, who buries your dead?
Eyes untutored, hands unschooled
Sleeping on the floor of your sister’s shack
You rise from the shadows, pass the lilies of the field
In the black night of sorrow, a sparrow on the wing
To go to mass meetings, to march in the streets, to sing …
They beat you. I cry out. I bleed
For I am bound to you
Just like a tree
That’s stannding by the water
We shall not be moved
Is my name, too
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Daniel Thompson was Poet Laureate of Cuyahoga County, Ohio (which includes Cleveland) from 1992 until 2004
His chapbooks Comforting the Dead and The Rain Poet are available from Green Panda Press
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the titles above to order through abebooks.com
Find even more Daniel Thompson poetry at http://www.agentofchaos.com/daniel_thompson/index.html or…
Poet Daniel Thompson and percussionist Sam Phillips, from the 1996 CD Genetic Memory.
For more, check out Sam Phillips’ You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/samphillips21.
Visit Sam on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/liberationbrewtv.
And find a wealth of Daniel Thompson poetry at http://www.agentofchaos.com/daniel_thompson/index.html.
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