Secrets of the Heart of Jim

December 5, 2010
The time has come, as I feared it would,
That my memories are starting to fade.
My wife, my children, though still deep in my heart,
Have become ghosts of the past.
Though in my dreams I still can hear
The gentle echo
Of their sweet laughter,
I always awaken too suddenly,
Yearning for just one more moment,
One more embrace,
One more chance
To show them that I care.

Why must I live without them?
Why must I endure this torment?
Little by little, day by day,
I am forgetting the ones I love.
And I can’t see how I can forgive myself.
Nor can I see how I can forgive
The ivory-white world I’ve been inclined to obey,
Those law-abiding masters yet sin-committing rascals
Who have no guilt in tearing families apart.

But some nights, as I lie awake in anguish,
Looking at the stars,
I think of what’s in store for my people,
Knowing deep within my almost-broken heart,
Someday, somehow,
We will rise above.
I envision black hands and white hands
Joining together
Bonded by the ardent hope of a new day
When love and compassion
Shatter the shameful past
Of hatred and denial.
Someday, blacks and whites will march
Side by side, like the brothers they are,
In a resolute journey for peace and freedom.
But when will that day come?
Oh Lord, I ask you,
When will that day come?

Until then, at least I do have some things
To be glad about.
I’ve got my raft and I’ve got my river,
And I’ve got my Huck.
My best friend,
My only friend I’ve got right now.

The only white man
Who ever kept his promise
To ol' Jim…

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