I stood unshackled yesterday, beside
The Mississippi flowing wide
And dark though annals of my history
She was sweet as a mother's stoic misery
I drank her water-syllables as though
I was in some great silent temple
Or shrine, where the ancient spirits know
My mystery, and before them humble
Became a ward of something no one names
Something of water, that knew the flames.
I sttod while the ripples wake the souls
And cries of a million more, whose blood
Have colored these tides - the coals
Of their spirit sparkling upon the flood.
And here in reverence I yielded a prayer
For my soul is kinship with a mighty river
Rivers flow in my blood as my blood flows
In them. I wept, O because nobody knows
The waters of this river could not suffice
Alone, to meet the fire of my sacrifice.