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I do not know the power of my hand, I do not know the power of my black hand.
I sit slumped in the conviction that I am powerless, tolerate ceilings that make me bend. My godly mind stoops, my ambition is crippled; I do not know the power of my hand.
I see my children stunted,
my young men slaughtered,
I do not know the mighty power of my hand.
I see the power of my life and death in another man’s hands and sometimes
I shake my wooly head and wonder:
Lord have mercy!
O Africa, where I baked my bread
In the streets at 15 through
the San Francisco midnights…
O Africa, whose San Francisco shouting-church
on Geary Street and Webster saw a candle
burning in the middle of my madness…
O Africa, whose Fatha Hines and Teddy Wilson
I took to my piano…
O Africa within every brown breast that’s
Africa’s thousand calmings of my mother-hunger
across the North American continent…
O Africa, within the black folk who’ve loved me
in this prelude to the sip-blood time…
Africa, I lay my hand upon your swarthy belly-and
keep it there till deat