by Richard Chess
the arms of history, arms
that embrace, arms that steady, arms
that secure and crush, called at night, called by
a reed but they were uncertain what the reed
was calling them to, called by blood and bone
of a lamb, but they were unsure of what the stain
of blood and weight of bone were calling them to.
The sea of history parted once for them to pass through.
The story of freedom cleared a path for them
and they walked it, they shuffled, limped, dragged
or skipped through it. Once they were invited
but they hesitated, some hesitated,
like you, my son, invited now
to come into the arms of your history, the long
page of which will be recited tonight, here
on the far shore of the sea of their crossing
into history, here where I invite you to be embraced
by the story, to be strengthened by it, to sing it
with your blood and strong bone.
–Read at St. Lydia’s on April 1, 2012