Read Poems by Lillian White

Lillian White Avatar    Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below are poems written by poet Lillian White. Click the Next or Previous links below the poem to navigate between poems. Remember, Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth. Thank you.

List of ALL Lillian White poems

Best Lillian White Poems

+ Follow Poet
NextLast

She Goes Back

She Goes Back
By Lillian J. Jeffrey


Whispers flow like a river
she will be sold
sold or rented like a cash crop

Born on a Maryland plantation
her mother works the big house
Harriet runs barefoot in the woods
side by side her brothers, nursemaids 
her younger brother, childhood ends at five

She is rented, sleeps on a cold, cold floor 
shares food scraps with dogs 
wounds yarn slow they say 
checks muskrat traps in marshes 
barefoot in icy waters she looks 

Her lungs fill, fill with fluid, her body burns 
she is sent back coughing, coughing, holds on
fights off bronchitis and measles 
her mother helps nurse her back

Rented to take care of a baby, clean house 
the baby cries, she’s whipped, whipped, she runs
runs like the wind, tumbles into a pig pen 
pig fights for potato peels













Her stomach empty, rumbles, she 
returns to her mistress, the whippings set
her back on fire, she is sent back.

Rented, rented to load lumber
hears Nat Turner led a revolt 
losses fighting for freedom
rebellions spark hope in her heart
whispers spread she will be sold

Her master dies, the new master 
rents her to a local builder 
the builder permits her to rent herself 
she makes money, saves, saves, runs, runs
bends with the wind.

Empty of fear, full of dreams of freedom 
doors open, slips of paper lead her way 
through the Underground Railroad, 
a network of shifting safe houses

Her heart skips a beat,
beads of sweat roll, roll down her cheeks
she crosses, crosses the Mason-Dixon Line.

Free at last, lonely, life stands still
like a still life of shells and bones
she is cut off, she longs, longs for her family














The sounds of rattling chains, cracking whips,
echo in her ears, she hears her mother’s
cry, hears her mother's cry, she goes back, 
helps her family, friends escape, escape 
on foot, through cemeteries, swamps, 
around hills, she never losses a passenger.

A will as strong as a rock
a will to endure, persevere 
a will to help others
nineteen times she goes back 

Shoes worn, spirits strong
more than three hundred slaves escape 
Harriet Tubman is nicknamed “Moses” 
for her fearless bravery, 
thump, thump, thump
bounty hunters on her trail.





Copyright © Lillian White | Year Posted 2017

NextLast

Post Comments

Please Login to post a comment

 
  1. Date: 3/7/2017 10:38:00 AM

    Lillian, this is a wonderful tribute to such a courageous woman. She feels her freedom but hears the cries, yearns for her family and fellowman. How hard to turn back. She runs ever harder just to save!! 7 oh yes!!! I hope you get chosen for POTD!

Back