Friday, April 25, 2008

Poetry Friday: Not They Who Soar by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Not they who soar, but they who plod
Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
Are heroes; they who higher fare,
And, flying, fan the upper air,
Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
'Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
May smile upon defeated care,
Not they who soar.

High up there are no thorns to prod,
Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
To turn the keenness of the share,
For flight is ever free and rare;
But heroes they the soil who've trod,
Not they who soar!

I just finished reading Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis - a historical novel about eleven-year-old Elijah, the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves. I want to share "Not They Who Soar" by Paul Laurence Dunbar because it is a very fitting tribute to slaves who escaped into freedom and congregated in such communities as Buxton.

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