Queries - Virtual Worship for White Friends Confronting Racism
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2/8/2024 Queries

Cornell West: “Justice is what love looks like in public...“

  • In my own life, how does love compel me in my work for Justice?
  • In the places where love and justice are separate, what separates them? How can I bridge that separation?

Th[e]] poem [below] is by Helen Morgan Brooks (1904-1989), a Quaker and a poet from the Philadelphia region.  Brooks was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and worked as a dietician and educator throughout her adult life.  At the age of 52 she became a member of Arch Street meeting in Philadelphia, and served on several boards and committees of local Friends organizations, including Pendle Hill and Friends Journal.
Double chain

Portray her as you will.
If you see a black Queen's grace,
a slattern or a wench
beneath the pale yellow of her face,
try to conjure from your mind
the will and soul to learn
this strange alchemy of her race.
If you of one continuous strain
of tranquil thought and blood
Back through 100 years or more,
would call once to that strange
god-made protoplasm,
that lithe body that walks with measured tread;
those eyes that see, the ears that hear,
the tongue that speaks your language
or some other God-like nations;
who reads and learns, who lives and loves;
Who sickens as you do and dies;
she never will be free,
but bound fast with iron bands,
or, stranger still,
with chains of heritage
to the songs of her soul,
the soul of an ancestral slave
that makes her in the dead of night
morn in softly to herself;
I am bound I am bound can't be free
Soul save yourself and then save me
I am bound and can't be free
 How often have you called back down to her,
when deep, the soul still cries aloud:
I am climbing Jacob’s ladder Ladder Ladder
I am climbing Jacob’s Ladder,