TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THAT HE WALK BY DAY
On the rich, florid hillsides of Alabama,
The Negro hovels lean, affronting the sun,
Bringer of the dogwood blossoms and the wild rose.
Father Abraham—they need you, Father Abraham!
There are still those in the hundred and sixtieth year
Of this majestic republic for whose sweet sake
Your men fell in the Wilderness and at Murfreesboro,
And you yourself to the mad assassin's bullet,
Who when they enter the house of the kind master
Must come to the back door, skulking like dogs.
O Father Abraham, let me spin you this brief story,
Since you loved stories and children and were always patient.
Do you remember pompous Stanton and Seward,
How they fumed and grunted at the chill cabinet meetings
When you dared to pause—with the Rebels so close you could feel
Old Stonewall's breath, or his teeth, on the back of your ear—
To tell the tale of some simple farmer or blacksmith?
Let me tell you then of a charwoman, Mr. President—
And one whose ancestors sat in the sun so much
She was born black; now with a trouble on her,
That her little son, though warned most solemnly
Would walk through the front door when he came to us.
For he would forget: it seems that he did not know
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