(24 September 1825 – 22 February 1911 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Bury Me In A Free Land

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

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Comments (15)

This staggered me with its strength, its love, its principles- -this woman is so impactful.... this is the best poem I have read in months! I must read more of her poetry..
Wow. I wish that I had been given the honor of reading this poem earlier in my life. How beautifully and painfully she describes the unimaginable hardships of slavery. With such a simplicity and without feeling remorse for wanting out of that world, the author portrays her only wish.
One of the finest poem ever written! So, emotional and humbly demanding a right that's in the first place free for all.
Uncle Tom's Cabin set to verse. The emotional draw is rightly choreographed by the harshest ugliest aspects of slavery.
Burial! A place of rest. But, peace comes from the place of love. Nice work.
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