During Donald Trump’s Inauguration
I closed my eyes, to conjure from the 1950’s
An image of that towering man Paul Robeson
Singing his heart and soul across the border
Between Washington State and Canada
When tides of race and power and wealth
Surged all as one to try to drown him out,
Snatching his passport lest his songs be heard
By the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union.
I conjured the noisy flatback truck manoeuvred
To the border, and the straining loudspeakers
Bearing the resonant burden to where his masters
Feared to grant him passage. And I conjured
All those gathered thousands rising to Joe Hill,
To Ol’ Man River and to Let My People Go, rising
To anthems that might undermine frontiers.
This still I hoard: that profound voice rolling
Across the barriers built by poisoned money,
Vibrant with the urge to make America good.