Poems by Zellie Rainey Orr

[Zellie Rainey Orr was a 1964 Freedom School student in Indianola, Mississippi]

We Are One


We are one.
I come as a bud
and reach full blossom.
Even through three days of rain
I have ripened.
I, so delicate a thing,
survived the raging night wind.
I am only a flower—
you are man.
Yet, such a mere thing
as maturity
Takes thee so long
to comprehend.
The right to fully blossom
is given each of us,
it is just
A natural thing.

Copyright © Zellie Rainey Orr, 1989, all rights reserverd.

[As we near the celebration of our nation's independence this July 4, 2014, I have attached a poem I penned in the late 1960's while a student at Gentry High (Indianola, MS). Now nearly 50 years later, in revisiting the verbiage — I concur there has been progress. Yet, we still have a long way to go!!! — Zellie Rainey Orr.]

I have believed in America
though she has never believed in me;
she enslaved my ancestors
in her Land of Liberty.

She used me in building America
but refused to give me pay;
even manipulated justice
to look the other way.

She gave me an education
second-rate at that;
and blames me for illiteracy,
poverty, and rats.

She threw me in her crowded jails
even beat me unmercifully;
when I stood up for my civil rights
and protested peacefully.

She brainwashed my mind—
destroyed my self-esteem;
denied me my God-given right
to be the best, I can be.

I see her flag of freedom
flying majestically for all to see;
but I know her stars and stripes
do not wave to me.

Copyright © Zellie Rainey Orr. Penned late 1960's; Copyrighted Zellie's "Journal of Poetry" 2001, all rights reserverd.

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