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Apple trees in Sussex.

        I did not climb the apple trees in Sussex
       or wait upon the queen in London town
       they courted me in sweltering Mississippi
       with birch and thong to bring the cotton down
For I have come not to bring peace but your heads in a block, my
lovelies, cried the captain
   of the slaver stranding
   out of Liverpool, plying
   between Guinea
   and the land of the glorious free
   the abiding place of the sullen, querulous slave; and Montaigne
reminds us that stout and aging ladies, abandoned but not long forlorn,
plucked the eyes of their young male chattel to shepherd a crouched
submission into their care.
Locked in the prison of those gutted years, doomed in time pinned in the
silent back rooms of unhindered desire, to each his stock of dark
rolling pride, no seer to serve as overseer, who served as his own
breeder fertilizing the stunned flesh feeding the rows of cotton deep in
the blistering hell of Mississippi; by the Delta they descended down
   into the pit
forsaken by Shango and Damballah, down
   to the fist and the terror, down
   to the whip and the whim
   to the blazing heat of the field by day
   and the raging lust of the big house by night and all pale
     and ravenous things.
      I did not climb the apple trees in Sussex
      I'll never hail the queen in London town
      I spend eternity in Mississippi
      whose grace was death
        to bring the cotton down. 
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Article Details
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Author:Allen, Samuel W.
Publication:Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Words:276
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