The poem below focuses on being different because you are black. I share it in honor of black history month, in honor of all the wonderful women I have met in my life whose skin was a different color than mine but whose soul was my mirror.
I share it for Rosella Clemmons Washington, my soul sister. She sang like an angel, laughed with her whole body and still makes me smile when I look at her pictures.
I share it for her mother, Mama Rose, who taught me how deep love can be and how long it can last.
I share it because this beautiful poem goes to the heart of what I have said all my life. I cannot imagine how very many lovely souls I would have missed had I stopped at color, or weight, or height, religion, sexual orientation or any of the myriad ways we categorize each other.
We are all so much more than the wrapper we live in.
Please treat people the way you want to be treated.
Why did you give me thick lips,
a broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did you create someone
who receives the hated stare?
Black is the color of the bruised eye
when someone gets hurt.
Black is the color of darkness,
black is the color of dirt.
Why is my bone structure so thick,
my hips and cheeks so high?
Why are my eyes brown,
and not the color of the sky?
Why do people think I’m useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do people see my skin
and think I should be abused?
Lord, I just don’t understand.
What is it about my skin?
Why is it some people want to hate me
and not know the person within?
Black is what people are “Labeled”
when others want to keep them away.
Black is the color of shadows cast.
Black is the end of the day.
Lord you know my own people mistreat me,
and you know this just ain’t right.
They don’t like my hair, they don’t like my
skin, as they say I’m too dark or too light!
Lord, don’t you think
it’s time to make a change?
Why don’t you redo creation
and make everyone the same?
Why did I make you black?
I made you in the color of coal
from which beautiful diamonds are formed.
I made you in the color of oil,
the black gold which keeps people warm.
Your color is the same as the rich dark soil
that grows the food you need.
Your color is the same as the black stallion and
panther, Oh what majestic creatures indeed!
All colors of the heavenly rainbow
can be found throughout every nation.
When all these colors are blended,
you become my greatest creation!
Your hair is the texture of lamb’s wool,
such a beautiful creature is he.
I am the shepherd who watches them,
I will ALWAYS watch over thee!
You are the color of the midnight sky,
I put star glitter in your eyes.
There’s a beautiful smile hidden behind your pain.
That’s why your cheeks are so high!
You are the color of dark clouds
from the hurricanes I create in September.
I made your lips so full and thick,
so when you kiss…they will remember!
Your stature is strong,
your bone structure thick to withstand the
burden of time.
The reflection you see in the mirror,
that image that looks back, that is MINE!
So get off your knees,
look in the mirror and tell me what you see.
I didn’t make you in the image of darkness.
I made you in the image of ME!
by RuNett Nia-Ebo