James Son of James

James Son of James

Rain falls at 4 a.m., December 8,

And I stand and soak and shiver

Alone in the pre-dawn darkness.

It is so much easier to cry, in rain:


Am I the old man sliding across

The wet and slick blanket of

Leaves (the yard a mass of colors),

Searching the fog for solace, crying?


Or just the gentlest storm of drips,

Thirsty ground drinking, the old man

Speaking words only earth and rain

Hear: ‘Jim,’ ‘has died,’ ‘James gone.’


On Friday James son of James, ‘See you

next week,’ in truth: pure folly which

Is hope, language which is symbols, for

We never ‘know’ what we ‘know.’


‘The old man’s brother has died,’ Earth

Tells its seeds, ‘The old man and Jim’s book

Of James the Elder, a Black father in war’:

Then, children, our voices stilled. The dead


Outnumber the living, you see: ‘The universe

Living, dead, forming, reforming like jazz,’

The old man thinks, ‘my tears, drips of rain

A refrain, a Psalm: Jim, I loved you, love you.


It is so much easier to cry, in rain.


About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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