APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
Today the spotlight shines on a poem written by H. M. and published in Frederick Douglass’ paper on October 2, 1851.
I present the poem...
THE AUCTION BLOCK
The sable mother, child in hand is now exposed to view;
Around her unpitying hand, to nature all untrue,
Her form's surveyed, while ribald jest meets her offended ear,
Rude laugh, course wit is echoed around, and this she has to bear.
The auctioneer attest her worth, and asks one hundred more,
"Without the brat, I'd buy the wench," exclaims a Southern boor.
His powerless arms her husband lifts, who grits his snowy teeth;
But quickly awed by stern command, he tries to choke his grief.
"Well! be it so," the owner cries,--"come bid her off alone!"
She hears him not--but ah! The father breathes a hollow groan.
Her piteous eyes are cast around, and suppliant she stands;
But "meek-eyed Pity" dwells not there, she lives in other lands.
Poor doom'd one, hark! the hammer falls, the wretch asserts his rights,
He tears her from her Boy, to whom she clings with all her might.
"My child!" she screams--"in mercy be my own, my darling boy!
Quick! Buy him quick! You cannot sure my life blood thus destroy";
"And look! There stands my husband dear, a manly heart has he,
And willing hands--oh! buy him to, in mercy unto me!"
Alas! as well might victim plead with tiger on the plain,
As soon as old Ocean yield to view the drowned live again.
She seeks his eye--and reads her fate, what now on earth is left
to cheer the widowed childless one, of all but life bereft?
And what is life? She ask not it, she's torn from all away,
She prays for death-an early death-that sable one doth pray.