To the Oppressors

Now you are strong
And we are but grapes aching with ripeness.
Crush us!
Squeeze from us all the brave life
Contained in these full skins.
But ours is a subtle strength
Potent with centuries of yearning,
Of being kegged and shut away
In dark forgotten places.
We shall endure
To steal your senses
In that lonely twilight
Of your winter’s grief.

“To the Oppressors.” Copyright 1939 by the Pauli Murray Foundation, from Dark Testament and Other Poems by Pauli Murray. Used by permission of the Liveright Publishing Corporation.
More Poems by Pauli Murray