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Poems and Thoughts    by Frank Maurer

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Emmett Till.

Emmett Till was born a black child on 25 July 1941.
Next month I will, from 25 August 1941, be 82.
Listening to a program about Till, it struck me hard,
That he and I were companions in time--
He, an exact month older than I.
But he lasted only, through terrible tragedy, to the age of 14.
I, at 14, was in junior high school, absorbing a Shakespeare play,
Never being moved to whistle at a woman (if that ever occurred),
But I certainly thought women were something special.

Emmett took a trip from Chicago to visit family in the South.
I took a Mohawk Airlines flight from Boston
To my grandparents' farm in Watkins Glen, NY.
But how each voyage ended was--well, black and white.
I am so sad my divided country treated him with such violence.
I was fortunate that chromosomes
Assorted themselves as they did to create me.
But my trial--though I lived through it all,
Was my ostracism when I opposed the Vietnam war--
Uncles and aunts wanted nothing to do with me as an 'unpatriot'.

Much culminated for Emmett and me when I taught for three years in Africa
To see the source-land of all Homo sapiens,
And walk in the dust of Oldovai with the Leakeys.
The plunder of Africans for basically free labor--
1609 became as important for me as 1066.
My aura drifts into that open casket with Emmett's mangled body.
The Holocaust and the Scottish Clearances and 1609. . . .
Somehow all of us have shared that casket with Emmett.
                                                              Ahmen. .

Frank Mauer 25 July 2023 1150 Hours.

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