I am in a play called “The Stone that Started the Ripple” and I have the distinct pleasure of playing Sojourner Truth. It is both exciting and humbling because of the magnitude of a woman she was. This poem is for her.

Sojourner Truth

I want to hear the music of your Dutch tongue

listen intently to the melodies you sung 

without the twang Dana Gage added to your speech

I want to sit at your feet and listen to you

teach the power of spirit.

Although you could not write or read

it would be far

worth more than any of my degrees 

to learn from you

to grasp this history I was never taught

to search for your story and find it on your lips

full of song and a just cause.

Like undercurrents above the mud 

so journeys truth through history 

in bloodlines from Ghana and Guinea

sold on an auction block for one hundred dollars 

with a flock of sheep 

to become a shephard to the unfree 

I see you now like one of your visions

protesting for abolition

fighting for woman’s suffrage and reform in prisons

and sitting in streetcars meant for white folks

to move towards desegregation.

You were leagues before your time

before bus boycotts you shined like

black gold radiating light 

and I can only hope that I might

be true to your truth and live true to mine.