Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


A People's Historian

For Howard Zinn

who will come to tell us what we know
that the king’s clothes are soiled with
the history of our blood and sweat

who memorializes us when we have been vanquished
who recounts our moments of resistance, explicates
our struggles, sings of our sacrifices to those
unable to hear our song

who speaks of our triumphs, of how we
altered the course of a raging river of oppression
how we turned our love for each other into a
garrison of righteous rebellion

who shows us even in failure, when we
have been less than large, when our own
prejudices have been turned against us like
stolen weapons

who walks among us, willing to tell the truth
about the monster of lies, an eclipse that casts
a shadow dark enough to cover centuries

what manner of man, of woman, of truth teller
roots around the muck of history, the word covered
in the mud of denial, the mythology of the conquerors

let them be Zinn, let them sing to the people of history
let their song come slowly, on the periphery of canon
of history departments owned by corporate prevaricators

let their song be sung in small circles, furtive meetings
lonely readers, underground and under siege
their song, the seed crushed to earth, and growing
now a tree, with fruit, multiplying truth.

Credit


Copyright © 2014 by Kenneth Carroll. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Author


Kenneth Carroll

Kenneth Carroll is a poet, fiction writer, essayist and playwright,whose writing has appeared in numerous publications. He was the director of DC WritersCorps and past president of the African American Writers Guild. He is married to playwright Joy Carroll and the proud father of a daughter and two sons.

Date Published: 2016-04-27

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/peoples-historian