An Overview of the New Administration (1968)


Editor’s note: The 1968 United States elections were held on November 5, and elected members of the 91st United States Congress. The election took place during the Vietnam War, in the same year as the Tet Offensive, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and the protests of 1968. The Republican Party won control of the presidency. … Republican former Vice President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. [Source: Wikipedia] The following poem was written amidst the frustration, anger, and fear that permeated American hearts and homes.


Who will give warning this time

Is there anyone who will take the hot coals

Into the hands and throw them into the winds

And let the hot ashes fall onto the ground


There isn’t any corn to feed the children now

Only stubble of stalks and hard dry skeletons of silk

If you put your ear to the ground

You will hear the far off rumble of voices

Once there was a time we could hear the corn grow

Now it is the rumble of voices that gathers the harvest

Now the rumble of discontent grows into black clouds

That pour the hailstones into our outstretched hands

That melt into nothing


There is no one to give warning

No one to listen

The rumble we hear from the earth

Has grown into a roar and spreads like lava

Over the ground

And soon the ashes from Watts and Chicago and Harlem

The hunger of children and the tears of Vietnam

Are swept away

And all that is left is the wound into which

We all will bleed


*From Poets are the bravest, pub. date: 2001
Photo credit:




Riot (1968)




We’ll weep, Black Sister, we’ll weep together

For her whose home is dust.

Charcoaled ashes from riot weather,

A bitter wind of mistrust.

Hatred lies smoldering, pungent, and deep,

Shifting like sand.

Will she have a memory to keep

In this abounding land?

Must we, like Antigone, daughter of despair,

Live without sweet reconciliation

And beyond deeds of repair?

They’ve forgotten, those men of the law’s creation,

Whom the law should heed.

They’re not for you, Sister, so we must weep.

*from Poets are the Bravest, written 1968