MY heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety
- William Wordsworth
The beauty of poems according to me is that, while the poet might have meant anything while writing it, but its the meaning that the reader puts to it, that is most apt to it. Like a painting it can talk to different people differently. In fact, I have read atleast two different perceptions of the above immortal lines by William Wordsworth. One says that the child represents Jesus, who was considered the father of Man and the other says it means what we are when young gives shape and, in a sense, gives birth to what we are when grown.
I once read a beautiful poem about the dream of an african slave. Unfortunately though, while the essence stayed with me, I forget the lines or even the poet. I shall post it if I can get my hands on it again.
Meanwhile I shall leave you with the below poem by David Diop. I love the last stanza for its simple dignity and pride
Africa my Africa
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
The slavery of your children.
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun.
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.