Category Archives: Poetry

Africa Has Taught Me

By Larry H. Spruill

Africa has taught me the Zen lesson
of peace and contentment with
my life’s lot.
Though I desire much more…

Africa has taught me
not to ask
for more than
I can see and touch
before me.
I give thanks for
what is at my door.
The mango, banana,
peppers and yam
golden sunny skies
The gentle seasonal rain
and the friendly Great River.

I give thanks
for my God with
big ears and long arms
for my family
my friends.
Though I desire much more…

Africa has taught me
The wisdom in grasping
the joy in what
I can see and touch
before me.

Naked Africa – Sensual America

By Larry H. Spruill

Naked Africa
is not inherently indecent
Being fully clothed
with unrighteous
intentions and deeds
is the shame of all humanity.
Public pornography is a
western phenomena
determined by law as a
community regulated constitutional right.
There are few public displays
of overt sexuality in African cityscapes.
The overriding law is the promotion of
the wholesome and visual good of
the community, clan and nation.

The gyrations of traditional dance
are not sexual in the western sense.
They are related to fertility…
The divine reason for the oneness of…
man and woman
husband and wife
father and mother…

This For That

By Larry H. Spruill

Transcending Guilt – Embracing Commitment

There is nothing noble about poverty.
Americans admire the cultural, moral
and spiritual wealth of Africans.
We scourge ourselves with guilt for
indulgence in materialism.
We acknowledge our disadvantaged
spirits and souls.

We pretend as if we do not understand
why Africans want what we have so much of.

We say things like,
“In many ways the African is better off than we are.
They have little but they have joy and peace.”

These monologues make us feel better as we
board planes back to our homes, cars, jobs
and favorite Starbucks.
We came. We saw. We gave dollars.
In our hearts,
We know we received more than we gave.
If we look in the mirror,
we ask ourselves
Is there something else I can do?

This kind of guilt is ours. The exotic fantasy is over. The people are our people. We cannot leave them nor the animals and environment to the whims of Euro tourists. We have more than leisure time dollars. We have zionist obligations to bring more than our discretionary coins. We have developmental contributions to make. Don’t worry. We do not have to trade our opulence for the magic of kente and the sacred drum and dance. Besides such bartering would be an unthinkable
quid pro quo.

And We Still Dance

By Larry H. Spruill

Dancing Till Death

Grandma, Mama, and Auntie
dancing like fertile maidens
moving hands and shoulders
head and hips
silky smooth like
Harlem dance hall queens
gently smiling
walking and sailing along
improvised choreographed
ancestral paths
beautiful gray-haired
honeyed women
of an Asante royal harem
painting slow motion pictures
of African womanhood
for the lost-found daughters
from across the great river
Queen Mothers
still dancing the dance
inviting ancestral blessings
welcoming their American
daughters and sons
home to a forgotten world
of drum and song
the spirit of African life.

Dancing the Dance, The Hawkers Ballet

By Larry H. Spruill

With calculating, deliberate steps
of a pride of hunting lions
Eyes scanning for coins and small bills
in exchange for
bright colored bananas
skillfully shaved, skinless oranges
rainbow fabrics, plantain chips,
batteries, and a sundry of
bodega goods, goods, goods
balancing on broad round
metal plates dancing on
the head and neck of
black and brown faces
never falling
never worried about
can I or can’t I
dance the dance
above my eyes

Graceful crane-like arms
reaching toward the sky
choreographed movements
rehearsed from infancy to death
doved hands gliding
to the nest
precisely clutching the right
item with flawless agility

Dancing the dance
with rhythmic perfection
balancing their
shops and kiosks
on the streets of
Accra and Kumasi.

Infant Eyes

By Larry H. Spruill

The children of
Kokorbite, Ghana
West Africa

Tomorrow’s eyes
watching
today and yesterday
So much to see
to discover
to know…to master
A real new world
a planet
waiting for
their glowing souls’
darkly paned mirrors
reflecting duel lightening bolts
piercing, x-raying
making naked
the yes…no…
and maybes of life
in the twilight
of a foreboding
eternity.

A Cool Place

By Larry H. Spruill

Every soul needs shade
cover from their fiery
solar furnace
broiling over
their cans and can’ts
stumbling through
the heat of the day
steady caravans through the
Sahara of life
seeking a cool place
to rest and reflect
upon the next move
in the sweltering debilitating
blanket of a breezeless
West African noon day.

Every soul needs shade
from blistering skies
driving every soul,
creature and thing
to the leafy limbering
branches beneath
the faint coolness of
the sweet mango tree.

Kristallnacht

Dedicated to the Jews of Germany

By Larry H. Spruill

Night of tinkling glass
Shattered dreams
Surreal screams
Frightened souls
Terrified by
Unleashed evil….
upon indiscriminate humanity
Tinkling, tinkling glass…
Fractured mirrors of life…
Walking on broken shards
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch…
Goose stepping boots…
Coming to take me away…
Coming to take away my things…
They come for my gold
They come for my money
They come for my heirlooms
They come for my art…
They come to take away my books
They come to take away my credentials
They come to destroy my clothing…my furniture
They come for my things…
They come to humiliate me…
They come to take away
my wife…my daughters…
my husband…my sons
They herd me together
with strangers and friends
They take away my dreams
They bring darkened nightmares
full of unknown tomorrows
Tinkling, tinkling glass
altering what is real
into horrible new realities
They are coming to take me away
I am not unique
I am not different
I am simply a Jew
They have come to take away all
but my living God in my soul
What is important now?
What will I have to leave my children?
No more riches…no more gold and silver.
No china…no lockets…no Torah…no today…
just uncertain tomorrows…
I will leave them my words…
I will them my beliefs…
I leave them my ethics…my values…
I leave them my principles…
I leave them the ideas that are dear to me…
I leave them my eyes on the world…
I leave them my reason for living…
I leave them my God and his promise…
I leave you my children…
the indestructible things
The things of my heart and soul…
I leave you the things most dear to me…
My sons…my daughters…
I leave you the things of my soul…
for your living…
for your posterity…
for our tomorrow…
I leave you my ethical will…
I leave you
peace honor
faith trust
loyalty compassion
righteousness courage
and especially love…
I leave you my quest for perfection…
before God and man…
I leave you my struggle to build
families and homes
friends and relationships
communities and a new world
I leave you my legacy and spirit
I sign my name to all that remains
These are my only heirlooms
my sparkling jewels…for you…
My children…cherish them…
Live them…
Preserve them…
Pass them on…
That I might live and
be not forgotten.
For the glass is tinkling…
tinkling everywhere…
It is Kristallnacht…
The night of razor sharp pieces
of mirrored glass…
through which I no longer see hope…
For they come…
For they come…
to take me away.
Forever.

The Spark

By Larry H. Spruill

The spark of God
twinkling like the stem of a firefly
hurling through eternity
to the darkened hearts of humanity…
Aglow in every bosom
The static kiss of God
igniting life
flickering…flickering
until ablazed with
blue, yellow, red flames
driving darkness into distant realms
a burning bush of spiraling beams
claiming our attention
human emotions not yet perfected
yet loving godly living
living godly love
touching God as love
a love which transforms
the brutish into
the beloved ones
with godly flames burning within
warming humanity in their wake
in a daily ebb and flow of victories
over self and sin
standing, walking, running and resting
on the heavenly bonfire
stoked by loving the unloved
lighting new fires with
glorious cloven-tongued words
flickering new sparks
into the abyss of hatred and hopelessness.
igniting new births…new journeys to the Son.

You’ll Be My Lord

lyrics waiting for a melody
By Larry H. Spruill

I Love you Jesus
Don’t let evil take me
Don’t let him handle me
and bind me down
If you will keep me
I’m going to stand right here
with you forever
and you’ll be my Lord.

Someday I know you’re coming again
You’re coming to call home all of your people
You’re going to rapture me…
In the twinkling of an eye.
It’s got to be like that
According to your word
When you come again, I know
I’ll have to go…

I Love you Jesus
Don’t let evil take me
Don’t let him handle me
and bind me soul
If you will keep me
I’m going to stand right here
with you forever
and you’ll be my Lord.