Breaths

Breaths

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Listen more often to things
than to beings Listen more often to things
than to beings ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
when the fire’s voice is heard ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
in the voice of the waters Those who have died
have never, never left The dead are not
under the earth They are in the
rustling trees They are in the
groaning woods They are in the
crying grass, They are in the
moaning rocks The dead are not
under the earth So, listen more often to things
than to beings Listen more often to things
than to beings ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
when the fire’s voice is heard ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
in the voice of the waters Those who have died
have never never left The dead have a pact
with the living They are in the
woman’s breast, They are in the
wailing child They are with us
in the home They are with us
in the crowd The dead have a pact
with the living So, listen more often to things
than to beings Listen more often to things
than to beings ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
when the fire’s voice is heard ’Tis the ancestor’s breath
in the voice of the waters

4 thoughts on “Breaths”

  1. This is a cover of Ysaye M. Barnwell's (of Sweet Honey in the Rock) adaptation of the poem by Birago Diop. Check out Sweet Honey in the Rock for the original.

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