Song For The Old Ones Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


My Fathers sit on benchesA
their flesh counts every plankB
the slats leave dents of darknessC
deep in their withered flanksD
They nod like broken candlesE
all waxed and burnt profoundF
they say 'It's understandingG
that makes the world go round '-
There in those pleated facesH
I see the auction blockI
the chains and slavery's cofflesH
the whip and lash and stockI
My Fathers speak in voicesH
that shred my fact and soundF
they say 'It's our submissionJ
that makes the world go round '-
They used the finest cunningG
their naked wits and wilesH
the lowly Uncle TommingG
and Aunt Jemima's smilesH
They've laughed to shield their cryingG
then shuffled through their dreamsH
and stepped 'n' fetched a countryK
to write the blues with screamsH
I understand their meaningG
it could and did deriveL
from living on the edge of deathM
They kept my race aliveL

Maya Angelou


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