Sometimes I remember my grandfather's house
A garden with tiger lilies, my grandmother
Waving a white apron to passing trains
On that trestle across the clay road.

The house was even there when confederate
Calvarymen came to conscript my grand-
------father
Now years have wrinkled the gray walls
An eagle on the weathervane has a missing
------wing
And spins unknowingly in all directions
The dignity of the magnolias is threatened
By ever changing winds that carry
Broken modes of the Eolian harp.
The calendar on the wall of my
------grandfather's
Room, points to a July many years
------ago
I am in the garden looking at the
Green stem of that tiger lily undulating
------like a small garter snake

Grandfather tells me my grandmother cut it
To wear to church on her white dress
"It will be here again when you return
------next year"
But the tiger lily's leaves faded the trains no
------longer pass by.
The house rocks back and forth, and I
------hear no sounds
Inside I search desperately for you
But neither you nor Liza are there and
The hum of the years calls my memory
There is laughter, the moans of women in
------childbirth,
Locked somewhere in these purple shaded rooms, but
What happened in the five months left
After that humid July?
I will wait here for you or for Liza
To take me where there are tiger lilies
And where I can hear the whistle of night trains
Not the cawing of this wounded,
------spinning eagle.

-Romare Bearden

 
Lamp at Midnight, 1987
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