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HEGIRA, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, black man, why do you northward roam, and leave all the farm lands bare?
Last Line: Combat ajar!
Alternate Author Name(s): Tremaine, John
Subject(s): African Americans; Negroes; American Blacks

Oh, black man, why do you northward roam, and leave all the farm lands bare?
Is your house not warm, tightly thatched from storm, and a larder replete your
And have you not schools, fit with books and tools the steps of your young to
Then what do you seek, in the north cold and bleak, 'mid the whirl of its
teeming tide?

I have toiled in your cornfields, and parched in the sun, I have bowed 'neath
your load of care,
I have patiently garnered your bright golden grain, in season of storm and fair,

With a smile I have answered your glowering gloom, while my wounded heart
quivering bled,
Trailing mute in your wake, as your rosy dawn breaks, while I curtain the mound

of my dead.

Though my children are taught in the schools you have wrought, they are blind to

the sheen of the sky,
For the brand of your hand, casts a pall o'er the land, that enshadows the gleam

of the eye,
My sons, deftly sapped of the brawn-hood of man, self-rejected and impotent
My daughters, unhaloed, unhonored, undone, feed the lust of a dominant land.

I would not remember, yet could not forget, how the hearts beating true to your

You've tortured, and wounded, and filtered their blood 'till a budding Hegira
has blown.

Unstrange is the pathway to Calvary's hill, which I wend in my dumb agony,
Up its perilous height, in the pale morning light, to dissever my own from the

And so I'm away, where the sky-line of day sets the arch of its rainbow afar,
To the land of the north, where the symbol of worth sets the broad gates of
combat ajar!

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