Poem Hunter
Bless You
(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Bless You

They stood, in little groups,
heads bowed as if about to pray,
while urgent steps strode past
through sliding doors besmudged
with tons of fingerprints, fly pooh
and squeegie marks left there to dry.

Two uniforms, well starched, appeared,
their shiny boots stepping in unison,
in rhythm of a city full of dreams,
of little secrets that would be like flies
attracted to the innocence of eyes.

A father, robed and bald, hands raised
and flaunting a worn bible to the sky,
God needs to know who still believes
and who would carry His well laden torch
down the old path, so very full of thorns
that hung suspended from thin twigs
and formed a canopy of discontent,
while silent whispers of the greatest sacrifice
descended, playfully like living flakes
to come to rest upon the icy streets,
painting the fields and luscious meadows
in virgin white, a portrait for the Gods.

There had to be, he pondered on this still,
a gaggle of the holy ones above, indeed
mankind would never be without the need.
The father now pretended to immerse
his facial bones into the holy book,
as if the truth did matter, in each verse.

He passed the group, oblivious to all,
and as they swayed and let their bodies fall
coming to rest inside their drug-induced cocoon,
he hurried past as if his presence were to be
a matter of good planning. Maybe soon.

The Bishop came to open the big door,
broad smile placed on his face, Oil of Olay,
well manicured he shook and pumped
as if to say, we are two of a very special breed.

Fig Newtons dipped into a tea just brewed,
from raspberries and olive leaf, well stirred,
and never shaken, he explained and smiled
his boyish and heartwarming crowfeet smile.

They dwelled in subject matters of concern,
and lingered over drugs within their town,
the facial tuck and cream did not permit a frown.

At five the two, one as a predecessor though,
the other with his hopes glued to the hierarchy,
did bless four hundred cons within the local jail
and praised their work; it was a fabric shop,
downstairs, on concrete floor, heavily spangled with
machines that seemed to have been salvaged
from a distant past, yet they did do the job, and well,
a stitch would race through vinyl of a certain grade
like little footsteps in the fresh November snow.

A little armless man, quick on his feet, did spring
as if on tiny trampolines, from one machine
to number two, each time attaching a small cloth,
in linen white, the Roman letters neat and raven black,
announcing both a purpose and a destination,
correctly spelled as well as starched, they said,
One Body Bag, size universal, Property of DOC,
which stood for, well, Department Of Correction
as you may have known. The father, full of hope,
glued to the hierarchy and promises to reap,
he entertained a fleeting, very much disturbing thought
about the owners' name, misnomer it could be.

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Langston Hughes


Comments (1)

This poem is very good I haven't talked with you for so long Yes I remember you translated two of my poems in German My newest poem that I had written for my hard times that I had while I went to court and also include my time in Jail The poem is called What done is done Every body goes crazy for it I believe it leaves people seachless Yes it sends the message that is time to move on and don't dwell on the past