ethel’s words

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PRAISE BROWN

Each day,
when I view the bounty on my table
I praise the brown hands
that labored to bring this art:
that placed the seed
guided water
trimmed and thinned
nurtured with love
as if the fruits of all the efforts
would please the palette
of the one who brought it forth,
or feed a fat baby,
a healthy child,
the ones bearing images
of ancestors, who,
hundreds of years ago
tamed the wild maize
coaxed the wild potato
husbanded beans, and oh!
learned the rich secrets
of the coffee berries.

I praise the strong arms;
I bow to the bowing back;
I whisper to the dawn
to carry my message of gratitude
across the mountains and valleys
or to blazon on the sky
that there is one, at least one,
who stands still
at the markets
for moments of sacred silence
in thanksgiving over centuries
for gorgeous arrays of Earth foods
that delight
even the callous eye.

I praise the brown hands,
cast blessings to bowed backs;
murmur gratitude;
but shout to the world
that a day of justice
will come, will come.

Ethel C. Hale                                 

Copyright 2007