Weep, Beloved Black Brother – A poem by Patrice Lumumba

O black man, beast of burden through the centuries,

Your ashes scattered to the winds of heaven,

There was a time when you built burial temples

In which your murderers sleep their final sleep.

Hunted down and tracked, driven from your homes.

Beaten in battles where brute force prevailed.

Barbaric centuries of rape and carnage

That offered you the choice of death or slavery.

You went for refuge to the forest depths,

And other deaths waylaid you, burning fevers,

Jaws of wild beasts, the cold, unholy coils

Of snakes who crushed you gradually to death.

Then came the white man, more clever, tricky, cruel,

He took your gold in trade for shoddy stuff,

He raped your women, made your warriors drunk,

Penned up your sons and daughters on his ships.

The tom-toms hummed through all the villages,

Spreading afar the mourning, the wild grief

At news of exile to a distant land

Where cotton is God and the dollar King.

Condemned to enforced labor, beasts of burden,

Under a burning sun from dawn to dusk,

So that you might forget you are a man

They taught your to sing the praises of their God,

And these hosannas, tuned in to your sorrows,

Gave you the hope of a better world to come.

But in your human heart you only asked

The right to live, your share of happiness.

Beside your fire, your eyes reflect your dreams and suffering,

You sang the chants that gave voice to your blues.

And sometimes to your joys, when sap rose in the trees

And you danced wildly in the damp of evening.

And out of this sprang forth, magnificent,

Alive and virile, like a bell of brass

Sounding your sorrow, that powerful music,

Jazz, now loved, admired throughout the world,

Compelling the white man to respect,

Announcing in clear loud tones from this time on

This country no longer belongs to him.

And thus you made the brothers of your race

Lift up their heads to see clear, straight ahead

The happy future bearing deliverance.

The banks of a great river in flower with hope

Are yours from this time onward.

The earth and all its riches

Are yours from this time onward.

The blazing sun in the colorless sky

Dissolves our sorrow in a wave of warmth.

Its burning rays will help to dry forever

The flood of tears shed by our ancestors,

Martyrs of the tyranny of the masters.

And on this earth which you will always love

You will make the Congo a nation, happy and free,

In the very heart of vast Black Africa.

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