Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Friday, December 22, 2006

    It's that time of the year where people are praising God and handing out gifts. Never really got the link, but so be it. Like everyone else, I will be posting very little for the next two weeks so have a great holiday. Also, thanks to everyone one who supported me this year -- it is deeply appreciated.

    Pasted below are three intense poems from Christmas, and Poems on Slavery for Christmas, 1843, a set of Christmas and antislavery poems published by Thomas Hill (1818-1891) in 1843 for the Boston antislavery fair.

    Often slaves were given as Christmas presents, some have argued that slaves were able to runaway easier during Christmas and during this time slaves/free blacks started to search for new masters -- isn't this some holiday cheer for ya'?

    THE RUNAWAY.

    A True Tale.

    Covered with ashes the little girl lay
    In a cellar’s darkest part,
    Wild in her fears she dared not breathe,
    And she stilled her throbbing heart.

    In the night she steadily crept forth, [5]
    By her hunger’s pangs impelled,
    But the strong-locked doors from her eager hands
    Their treasures all withheld.

    Covered with ashes the girl is found
    When the morning light appears, [10]
    And is to the master’s presence brought
    To tell her tale of tears.

    “I am owned, Sir, they say, by Colonel Y.,
    Who lives a mile from here,
    And I live with him a wretched life [15]
    Of anguish and of fear.

    “Tight to my leg above my knee
    A log of wood he chains,
    And this I drag till it galls the flesh,
    And my life is filled with pains. [20]

    “And if, thus clogged with a heavy load,
    My motions are too slow,
    He flogs me with a whip that brings
    The blood at every blow.

    “Three days ago my chain got loose, [25]
    So I slipped it off and ran,
    And hid myself in your cellar, Sir;
    O, help me if you can!

    “A withered pear in your ashes I found,
    ‘T is all I’ve had to eat [30]
    For three days; but I’d sooner starve,
    Than I’d my master meet.”

    When the man heard the little girl,
    At the “lazy wench” he swore,
    And sent her back to Colonel Y., [35]
    To suffer as before.

    But the shrieks of the beaten child
    Reached a kinder neighbour’s ear,
    And he bought the child to save its life
    From anguish and from fear. [40]

    That child has now to a woman grown,
    From bondage she is free,
    And in her own neat cottage rears
    A happy family.
    ___________________

    THE DEATH OF THE SLAVE.

    In a low and ill-thatched hut,
    Stretched on a floor of clay,
    With scanty clothing round her wrapped,
    The dying woman lay.

    No husband’s kindly hand, [5]
    No loving child was near,
    To offer her their aid, or shed
    A sympathizing tear.

    For now the ripened cane
    Was read for the knife, [10]
    And not a slave could be spared to aid
    His mother or his wife.

    She is struggling now with Death,—
    Deep was that dying groan,
    For a corpse now lies on the cold clay floor, [15]
    The soul, set free, has flown.

    The planter, walking by,
    Chanced at the door to stop,
    And he cursed his luck, “there was one hand less
    To gather in the crop.” [20]

    O, Jesus! hast thou said:
    “The poor your care shall be,
    Who visit not the poor and sick,
    They do it not to me”?
    ---------------

    THE SECOND ADVENT.

    Not in a humble manger now,
    Not of a lowly virgin born,
    Announced to simple shepherd swains,
    That watch their flocks in the early morn;

    Not in the pomp of glory, come, [5]
    While throngs of angels hover round,
    Arrayed in glittering robes of light,
    And moving to the trumpet’s sound;

    But in the heart of every man,
    O, Jesus, come, and reign therein, [10]
    And banish from the human breast
    The darkening clouds of guilt and sin.

    Come, spread thy glory over earth,
    Fill every heart with truth and love,
    Till thy whole kingdom here below [15]
    Be filled with peace like that above.

    For such a glory, when on earth,
    Thou prayedst to thy Father, God;
    He heareth thee, and soon will spread
    Thy glory and thy truth abroad. [20]

    Then shall no more by brothers’ hands
    The blood of brother men be spilled,
    Nor earth’s fair scenes with captives’ tears
    And groans of dying slaves be filled.

    But every where shall songs of joy [25]
    And hymns of praise to God arise:
    The true millennial glory then
    Shall bless thy waiting followers’ eyes.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 6:03 PM :: 6 comments

    ---------------oOo---------------






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