Karl W. Carter

Didn’t We…

A Blues of Remembrance 


Didn’t we make the tree’s bend together in the forest
When I drew you to me and made our hut by the river
When the morning was fresh with bird song and forest light
And the tall grass of the savanna
Wove its sweet scent into our home
Didn’t we make the trees bend together
When the sea’s song was our dirge in the
silent hole of the sailing coffins


Didn’t we bend together in the cotton fields in one room shacks And
sorrow’s song became the love of Jesus
And Freedom was always a dream
Didn’t we bend together
When the night riders came
And the tobacco harvest wasn’t enough
When the bow weevil came and the cotton crop failed
And the wash you took in barely saw us through
And there wasn’t enough for love or us.


Didn’t we bend together when signs marked the edge
of the delta land
And our sons hung from the trees
When our bodies bent to tend the land we shared
And the crop was never ours
When figures turned and another year of planting was gone
Didn’t we bend together through the wars
And the tales of freedom the young ones told of life up North
and in Europe


Didn’t we make the trees bend together
When you drew me to you and sheltered me
in your arms
When time turned tail on end
And the young ones sat in and the old songs had new meaning
When cities burned and Freedom’s song
Was heard in every hollow
Didn’t we make the trees bend together
Didn’t we…….
Just  the

Karl W. Carter, Jr. resides in Alexandria, VA. He is the author of two books of poems, Southern Road and Other Selected Poems (Create Space, 2014), and Sojourner and Other Poems (CreateSpace, 2010), and the poetry broadsides A Season in Sorrow (Broadside Press, 1972) and Three Poems (Broadside Press, 1972). His poetry has appeared in the journals Drum Voices Review, Chicken Bones, Delaware Poetry Review, Broadkill Review, and Journal of Hip Hop Studies, and the anthologies Understanding the New Black Poetry; Synergy D.C. Anthology; The Poet Upstairs: An Anthology of Washington Area Poets; Off the Record: An Anthology of Poetry By Lawyers; Freedom In My Heart: Voices From the United States National Slavery Museum; and Words of Protest, Words of Freedom, Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era.