Thursday Poem

The Long Road Home

—a poem for Muhammed Ali

I am Beginning to Comprehend
the mystery
of the gift of suffering.
It is true as some
have said
that it is a crucible
in which the gold of one’s spirit
is rendered
and shines.

you represent all of us
who stand the test of suffering
most often alone
because who can understand
who or what
has brought us to our feet?

Their knees worn out
ancestors stood us up
from the awkward position
they had to honor
on the floor beneath
the floor.

I have been weeping
all day
Thinking of this.
The cloud of witness
the endless teaching
the long road home.

by Alice Walker
from Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart
Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., 2016