The Slave’s Lament

Dedicated to George Floyd

Rough pavement biting my face
Here I am fighting for a breath
Never thought I’d be in such a place
Feels like I’m inching to my death.
My mother, I am coming
I am Heaven-bound
I feel my life a’leaving
There is no turning ‘round.

Massah day done!
Freedom bells ring!
Plantations abandoned!
Let the voices sing!

Once I was their animal
Lesser than a pet
My future was abysmal
Soaked in blood and sweat.
Felt the whip upon my back
The noose around my neck
That’s what happens when you’re black
They use you till you’re wrecked.

Massah day gone!
Freedom bells ring!
No more the white man’s pawn!
Let the voices sing!

They said they gave him freedom
Like he was born a slave
Stole my father from his kingdom
To bring him to this grave
Now generations passed
Bondage is all we know
Yet we remain steadfast
In a brighter tomorrow

Massah day no more!
Freedom bells ring!
Bring the boat ashore!
Let the voices sing!

No mixing of the races
Segregation is the decree
Might as well kept us in cages
Than pretending we were free
The whip is now a noose
Slipped over my head
No end to the abuse
No end to the bloodshed.

Massah day gone!
Freedom bells ring!
Wake to a new dawn!
Let the voices sing!

Then comes Martin Luther King
With him Malcolm X
Dreaming of a better thing
Where races intersect
Rosa Parks said “I won’t give up my seat”
To protest segregation
How could any act compete
With that type of gumption

Massah day now over!
Freedom bells ring!
Thank you to the Saviour!
Let the voices sing!

Barack Obama is the President
Hopes and dreams come true
Barely containing our excitement
A miraculous breakthrough
But not everyone was happy with
A black man in the White House
Questioning his place of birth
And belittling his spouse.

Massah day come back!
Freedom bells are silent!
We hear the Massah bogeyman
Vilify the migrant!

Kill the black man armed or not
There’s no value to his existence
Freedom is his Camelot
We must stop his disobedience.
Thugs and criminals will pay the price
We don’t care if you can’t breathe
Ever tightening the vice
Until you’re on your knees

Massah day ne’er left!
Freedom bells are silent!
People of colour are bereft!
Surrounded by racists and a tyrant!

Brian Sankarsingh is an accidental poet who, for many years, was standoffishly embroiled in social and political commentary; and who has now decided to maddeningly scream his message from whatever rooftop he can find. Sankarsingh is the author of two books A Sliver of a Chance, Insights and Observations of a Canadian Immigrant and The Human Condition, The Poet’s Perspective. You can reach him at Read other articles by Brian.