Paul Robeson

That time
we all heard it,
cool and clear,
cutting across the hot grit of the day.
The major Voice.
The adult Voice
forgoing Rolling River,
forgoing tearful tale of bale and barge
and other symptoms of an old despond.
Warning, in music-words
devout and large,
that we are each other’s
we are each other’s
we are each other’s
magnitude and bond.


From The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks (Library of America 2005). Copyright © 1970 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted with the consent of Brooks Permissions. Originally published in Family Pictures (1971) and collected in the Freedomways anthology, Paul Robeson, The Great Forerunner (International Publishers 1998) and in Blacks, the collected poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks (Third World Press 1994).

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