I walked and wept
By Joan Cartwright
Today, I walked and wept
I asked the trees why am I unhappy
I asked the angels to surround me
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Ariel
Aniel, Zadkiel, and all my guardians
I asked them to protect me
I asked the sky, the clouds
Why the tears are flooding my eyes
I asked the ground on which I walked
Why my heart felt so despised
I wondered why I felt despair
Since blessings I saw everywhere
There, across the lake, I live
A pleasant place with peace to give
But, still I felt as if I knew
With all I have some more was due
Oh, why, I asked am I so blue?
And why should I stop crying, Who
Could see me cry and pass on by
As if my tears meant nothing, Why
Could no one see that I was sad
That I was feeling really bad?
Bikers passed and waved as if
They didn’t care. I wondered if
I was a fool to be so blue
I wondered if my mood was true
I asked the birds, the butterfly
If my poor heart is open why
All I felt was the need to cry
And then, as I stood by the shore
Gazing on a sycamore
The answer came as teardrops poured
Down from my eyes, I saw, I saw
That I was feeling all the pain from
Knowing folks who gave their all
And, even though they stood so tall
Their withered lives most don’t recall
I cried for Billie who died a junky
I cried for Bird whom drugs had killed
I wept for Ella whose eyes were dim
When I was blessed to be in her midst
I wept for Betty whose “manager”
Stole her savings to buy a jet
That crashed, alas, all was misspent
I cried for Freddie whose lip did swell
From smoking crack as he did tell
Me of the horror he saw in Russia
Or was it just a doped up dream?
I wept for Miles who on his break
Outside the Vanguard (not the Gate)
Was beaten by an ig’nant cop
Who had no clue about Bebop
I cried for Clark whose back was sick
From flying cross the pond too much
I cried for Gloria Lynne, the Voice
Whose body made another choice
I wept for Etta, obese, until the day
She slimmed down to become Beyoncé
And both of them, who turned to blonde
To forsake all the Black they’d known
I cried for Whitney, who had it all
Who was a star that slipped to fall
Down from her thrown, as Michael did
I cried for them and God forbid
I kept on counting all the lives
That brought us music and then died
Where’s Donna Summer? Where’s Jimi?
Where’s Judy Garland and Janice Joplin?
Where’s Bessie Smith and Ray Charles?
Where’s Dinah? Where is Phoebe Snow?
Where are they, now?
Why have they flown?
I cried for those
Whose songs I’ve known
Whose lives had blessed the multitudes
I wept for them in my solitude.
On my solitary walk, today,
I cried for saints who went away.
©2013 Joan Cartwright