AfroPoets Famous Writers

Song For The Shepherd Boy

What wouldn't I give
to be with you.

Hey. The rags of my life are few.
Abandoned priceless gems are scattered
here and there
I don't know where-
never expected to have them,
much less need them,
but, now, an ache, like the beginning
of the rain,
makes me wonder where they are.

If I knew, I would go there,
travelling far and far
and find them
to give them to you.

would be amazed.
I see your amber color raised
and those eyes-!
brighter than the jewels, far
more amazing than the loot
of my looted life.

Well. Then.
There is my pain.
I never thought to think
of it again.
And pain's no gift
it will not lift
you up from the mid-night hour.
Pain cannot be given,
can only be tracked down,
somewhere-somewhere within that catacomb,
that maze, that dungeon,
which my breath built,
and in which I begin to move,
for something to give to you.

   May '86, Amherst
   (for David)

Written by James Baldwin (1924-1987)


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