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African or African american militant poetry

Thursday 18 November 2010, by Robert Paris

I Have Seen Black Hands

I am black and I have seen black hands

Raised in fists of revolt, side by side with the white fists

Of white workers,

And some day — and it is only this which sustains me—

Some day there shall be millions and millions of them,

On some red day in a burst of fists on a new horizon!

Richard Wright

Revolution is now !

I write to you fellow youth

From the slums to the suburbs

From upcountry to the cities


I write to you fellow youth

Pick up that dream you have shelved

Forget about the voices that whispered

That you can’t; don’t they see the fire within you?

I write to you fellow youth

You, me, we are great

Let us unlearn and break away

From the things that holds us in useless, undeserving bondage

I write to you fellow youth

Life will not begin tomorrow

Change is now

We can have the life we desire

I write to you fellow youth

Your mind is great

Your future is bright

The glimmering horizon beckons..

I write to you fellow youth

We are the beauty and life of the world

The strength of our nation

The pillar of our legacy

I write to you fellow youth

Revolution will not come by violence

But by reason, patience, relentlessness

By love and unity of purpose

I write to you fellow youth

Let us be people of integrity, people of justice, people of leadership

Let us show them how things should be done

Change things now, through hard work, greatness and service

I write to you fellow youth

The future is for the brave

For those who dream and pursue

And we, we are The Brave!

I write to you fellow youth

ARISE!!!!! Revolution is now…

Dayan Masinde


Great mob that knows no fear-

Come here!

And raise your hand

Against this man

Of iron and steel and gold

Who’s bought and sold


Each one-

For the last thousand years.

Come here,

Great mob that knows no fear,

And tear him limb from limb,

Split his golden throat

Ear to ear,

And end his time forever,


This year-

Great mob that knows no fear.

Langston Hughes

Between the World and Me

And one morning while in the woods I stumbled
suddenly upon the thing,

Stumbled upon it in a grassy clearing guarded by scaly
oaks and elms

And the sooty details of the scene rose, thrusting
themselves between the world and me....

There was a design of white bones slumbering forgottenly
upon a cushion of ashes.

There was a charred stump of a sapling pointing a blunt
finger accusingly at the sky.

There were torn tree limbs, tiny veins of burnt leaves, and
a scorched coil of greasy hemp;

A vacant shoe, an empty tie, a ripped shirt, a lonely hat,
and a pair of trousers stiff with black blood.

And upon the trampled grass were buttons, dead matches,
butt-ends of cigars and cigarettes, peanut shells, a
drained gin-flask, and a whore’s lipstick;

Scattered traces of tar, restless arrays of feathers, and the
lingering smell of gasoline.

And through the morning air the sun poured yellow
surprise into the eye sockets of the stony skull....

And while I stood my mind was frozen within cold pity
for the life that was gone.

The ground gripped my feet and my heart was circled by
icy walls of fear—

The sun died in the sky; a night wind muttered in the
grass and fumbled the leaves in the trees; the woods
poured forth the hungry yelping of hounds; the
darkness screamed with thirsty voices; and the witnesses rose and lived:

The dry bones stirred, rattled, lifted, melting themselves
into my bones.

The grey ashes formed flesh firm and black, entering into
my flesh.

The gin-flask passed from mouth to mouth, cigars and
cigarettes glowed, the whore smeared lipstick red
upon her lips,

And a thousand faces swirled around me, clamoring that
my life be burned....

And then they had me, stripped me, battering my teeth
into my throat till I swallowed my own blood.

My voice was drowned in the roar of their voices, and my
black wet body slipped and rolled in their hands as
they bound me to the sapling.

And my skin clung to the bubbling hot tar, falling from
me in limp patches.

And the down and quills of the white feathers sank into
my raw flesh, and I moaned in my agony.

Then my blood was cooled mercifully, cooled by a
baptism of gasoline.

And in a blaze of red I leaped to the sky as pain rose like water, boiling my limbs

Panting, begging I clutched childlike, clutched to the hot
sides of death.

Now I am dry bones and my face a stony skull staring in

yellow surprise at the sun....

Richard Wright

Beyond rhythm of sorrow

Beyond mountains and valleys.

Beyond great seas and rivers.

Beyond the distance of imaginations,

stood endless walls of stress and

In clutches of failures I lift my weak
voice in songs of praise.

It could have been worse but life was speared.

I have reached the peak of crisis.

I am afraid there is no where higher to go.

I have touched the bottom there is no
where deeper down to go.

I have given up to wind of music and
melodies of sweet songs in rejuvenation
of my mind, soul and body.

We have gone beyond bounds of hardship.

We have gone beyond bounds of sorrows.

We have run out of tears of sadness and
self pity.

We have grown sick of songs of sorrow.

We have long crossed rivers of solitude
to sing new songs of joy.

We sing and dance in gratitude for life.

Beyond rhythm of sorrow we celebrate our
past and present in anticipation of a better

Chidi Okoye

Dawn Rising

i see many voices rising with the sun

sharp spears of the sun ,undulating with coming freedom

mother was there during liberation

i will be there for the other liberation

a revolution of million voices

voices of children of song

children of the soil

children unborn ,children born

voices of hunger in the gutters

voices in memory of those gone by the wind of madness

voices of vendors whose tomatoes squashed in days raids

voices whose taxes perished on talk tables

voices riddled by sanctions

voices roasted by imperialism

one million voices

from a country whose spirit is chimurenga

whose breath is nehanda

whose scent is the mist of matopos

voices of freedom coming

voices tired of honey coated promises

iam one of voices freed by my poetic words

drinking from poetic grape fruit

born with sugar and salt words on my tongue

iam mother africa raving metaphors

iam a slave of my verbal bravado

iam singer of africa untold

iam the blak poet

the bread of revolution

the rose blooming liberation

million voices sing me a song

i dedicate this satire to you

Iam a revolution

tongues of their guns kissed the bottoms of our country walls

sand of corruption sedimented our banking malls

bishops munching rainbow chicken bones

,singing political verses

violence is a black disease

racism is a white disease

xenophobia is epidemic

blood spilling is endemic

dissidents studying theology

eunuchs graduating criminology

afghanistan ,earthquake of religions

pakistan,volcano of political legions

corruption natural lotion applied in armpits heavy weights

extortion vaseline shining on thighs on high offices

iam not revenging freedom of expression

iam bubbling with freedom of expression

iam constitution of word identity

iam poetry butter and bread

i see children blinded by propaganda peri peri

i see blinded nations

they ate the last supper joburg

their departure never came ,

even when the rainbow sun rose

iam in the drama of the state

my temper of dignity rise and sink

my children drank the apatheird poison

iam diagnosing them with freedom passion

iam tired of academics who loot

and intellectuals who shoot

luther is my tight comrade

iam a cheer leader

iam an african phonologist

i was born fron african sound

iam renaissance home bound

propaganda is the jingle of peasants

verdict is the slogan of exiled

iam a brand of poetic tomatoes

iam diving in trees of political apples

doubtful metaphors still dance out night in the glory of african sun

barometer of poverty boxed by Khoisan

rainbow streets bling with ghettoes

so what the fuss,motorcades

no longer drive ,village dust highways

rhythm of rainbow eaten by dogs

blood rhymes of freedom born frees sucked

by bed bugs

daughters depleted by social anorexia

babies whipped by cultural diarrhoea

we are suffering from freedom malnutrition.

Mbizo Chirasha


In vain your bangles cast

Charmed circles at my feet;

I am Abiku, calling for the first

And the repeated time.

Must I weep for goats and cowries

For palm oil and the sprinkled ash?

Yams do not sprout in amulets

To earth Abiku’s limbs.

So when the snail is burnt in his shell

Whet the heated fragments, brand me

Deeply on the breast. You must know him

When Abiku calls again.

I am the squirrel teeth, cracked

The riddle of the palm. Remember

This, and dig me deeper still into

The god’s swollen foot.

Once and the repeated time, ageless

Though I puke. And when you pour

Libations, each finger points me near

The way I came, where

The ground is wet with mourning

White dew suckles flesh-birds

Evening befriends the spider, trapping

Flies in wind-froth;

Night, and Abiku sucks the oil

From lamps. Mother! I’ll be the

Supplicant snake coiled on the doorstep

Yours the killing cry.

The ripes fruit was saddest;

Where I crept, the warmth was cloying.

In the silence of webs, Abiku moans, shaping

Mounds from the yolk.

Wole Soyinka

Dawn (l’aube)

Remember in baton boot and bullet ritual

The bloodhounds of Monster Vorster wrote

SOWETO over the belly of my land

with the indelible blood of infants

So the young are no longer young

Not that they demand a hasty deat

Keorapetse Kgositsile (South Africa)

Oh, Congo brother

With your tribal marks,

We, too, emerge

From ageless darks.

We, too, emit

A frightening cry

From body scarred,

Soul that won’t die.

We encarnadine the sky.

Langston Hughes(USA)

I cannot think of alle the pains

i cannot think of all the pains in men’s breasts

without the urge to sleep, or to lie down, I cannot think

without seeing God’s face in the child’s smile,

or in the lonely cry in the night and in the sea.

i cannot think of all the pains that have come

and gone, pains in men’s waists

and in men’s shoes –

i cannot have relief proper, wearing a neat tie.

i run around in circles, like sprinkling water,

i can’t have true relief, swearing out loud

and counting out the pains in my breast,

and in my pants.

i cannot think of all the pains and all the years wasted,

all the craze of lonely men in village rooms,

and all the bodies that lie out cold, in avoided streets-

i can’t run out old, like a joyful child

and watch a sky pregnant with pain, or with turbulent rain;

i cannot think of the soil without lying down,

i cannot think of tears, lonely geographies

and the third world, without the urge to cry or to sit down.

Mxolisi Nyezwa

I am a Negro

I am a Negro:

Black as the night is black,

Black like the depths of my Africa.

I’ve been a slave:

Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean.

I brushed the boots of Washington.

I’ve been a worker:

Under my hand the pyramids arose.

I made mortar for the Woolworth Building.

I’ve been a singer:

All the way from Africa to Georgia

I carried my sorrow songs.

I made ragtime.

I’ve been a victim:

The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.

They lynch me still in Mississippi.

I am a Negro:

Black as the night is black,

Black like the depths of my Africa.

Langston Hughes

So you’re one of the real revolutionaries

A whole lot on your mind that you feel you must say

Are you ready to walk the picket lines today?

Or are you one of those that demand equality, while throwing your fist up in the air

as you sit there in you’re reclining chair.

You can say what you want but it doesn’t mean a thing

it’s putting that thought into action that carries the swing

Screaming and yelling talking about equal rights

Yet to scared to fight.

By the way what is your cause, what is your desire

What topic sets your emotions on fire?
Is it Racism?


The way your girl wears her hair.

Drugs in school

Homeless teens

Keeping the rims on your car clean

Low test scores in urban school

Parents saying they don’t know what to do

Now I know pornography gets you upset

Or haven’t you decided yet.

Is it family violence?

Sex crimes

Drug dealers walking the streets not doing time

Or better yet, your job asked you to pee in a cup

After that same drug dealer hooked you up.

Is that what you’re mad about?

If so sit back in that reclining chair and raise your fist up in the air.

So you’re one of the real revolutionaries

And you’re going to save the planet.

Hmmm.. let me take a long look at you

As well as say a little something too.

Understand these words, Real Revolutionaries move in silence

If you are still confused as to what that statement means

I will now try to throw a little more light on the scene

To be real means to be real to yourself and real to your people,

Your not Malcolm X or Harriet Tubman so don’t pretend to be their equal.

Revolution means the movement, the turning of something upside down

Revolution means going against the crowd

Revolutionaries perceive If you can’t go through the wall go over or around

Silence- when your are under pressure will keep you calm

Silence- when there is danger all around will keep you from harm

When you think before you talk you are in silence

When you fight before you think now that’s meaningless violence
So you’re one of the real revolutionaries

Fighting for a cause

Or fighting because

Which is it

Tell me what is your plan?

To feed the people and nourish the land.

So tell me are you sitting or standing?

Acting or planning

Will you walk or run

Act now or wait until the morning sun.

Will you talk or scream

Awaken or continue to dream

Will you bark or bite

Fight for your own rights,

or the rights of the people
to be look at as equal

So you want to be a revolutionary

Then be real to your cause

Act in silence and be fresh like the morning dew

or the next dead revolutionary could be you.


Nothing’s changed

Nothing chnaged

Small round hard stones click

under my heels,

seeding grasses thrust

bearded seeds

into trouser cuffs, cans,

trodden on, crunch

in tall, purple-flowering,

amiable weeds.

District six.

No board says it is:

but my feet know,

and my hands,

and the skin about my bones,

and the soft labouring of my lungs,

and the hot, white, inwards turning

anger of my eyes.

Brash with glass,

name flaring like a flag,

it squats

in the grass and weeds,

incipient Port Jackson trees:

new, up-market, haute cuisine,

guard at the gatepost,

whites only inn.

No sign says it is:

But we know where we belong.

Tatamkhulu Afrika


Let all who will

Eat quietly the bread of shame.

I cannot,

Without complaining loud and long.

Tasting its bitterness in my throat,

And feeling to my very soul

It’s wrong.

For honest work

You proffer me poor pay,

for honest dreams

Your spit is in my face,

And so my fist is clenched


To strike your face.

Langston Hughes

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