The Road From Selma

Today is the 50th anniversary Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.  It’s a time to remember, reflect and hope we are better people now.

THE ROAD FROM SELMA                                                                        June Brindel

The road from Selma stretches in the rain

white as a shroud, rimmed with stiff troopers.

The marchers stand bowed, hands joined, swaying gently

their soft strong song stilled.

Then up from a Birmingham bed

rises a gentle Boston man, Jim Reeb,

steps softly back to Selma

and moves among the stilled marchers.

The troopers stir, link arms,

close ranks across the road

stretching from Selma in the rain

white as a shroud.

The Boston man, Jim Reeb, walks toward the troopers

and they straighten and stand guard tight as death.

But someone moves behind them, waves his hand.

“That you, Jackson?” Jim Reeb peers ahead.

“That’s right, Reverend. Come on through.”

The troopers tighten guard, straight as death

But Jim Reeb doesn’t stop.

He goes on through,

right through the stiff ranked troopers

white as a shroud

rimming the road from Selma.

And Jimmie Lee Jackson takes him by the arm

and they march down the road to the courthouse.

Over in Mississippi Medgar Evers stands,

three young men rise up from a dam in Neshoba County

and they all go down the road

and walk right through the tight stiff trooper line

and down the road from Selma.

And from all over there’s a stirring sound.

Emmett Till jumps up and runs laughing like any boy

through the stiff white rim.

Four small girls skip out of a church in Birmingham

and the tall old man in Springfield gets up

and goes to Selma.

And down from every lynching tree

and up from every hidden grave

come men, women, children, heads carried high,

passing a moment among the bowed, stilled troopers

and down the white road from Selma.

Until the age long road is packed

black with marchers streaming to the courthouse.

And the bowed stilled group in Selma

raise their heads, hands joined,

swaying gently, in soft strong song

that goes right through the stiff ranked troopers

white as a shroud

barring the road from Selma.

Copyright © 1965 June Brindel.


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