December 1, 2014

Poetry: Black Hands

I have no idea exactly when my father wrote the poem below; we think it was in the mid 1960s when he was teaching high school history and the focus was on the civil rights movement.

My mom remembered that he asked his class to come up with something creative, instead of doing the normal hum-drum essay. Apparently some of the kids in his class weren't sure what to do, so he tried to help them along by giving them an illustration.

She said it didn't take him long at all to write it, and I always figured I'd end up doing something with it, I just wasn't sure what.

This seems like a good time, and a good thing.

Black Hands
(Gregory A. Drummond, 1929 - 2007)

How can we know - 
Those of us who are white
How can we know 
What it must be like 
to have Black Hands?

How can we feel
The hate, the sneers, the spite 
That come each day 
To man and child alike 
Who have Black Hands

We sit snugly, smugly
Sure of our fate;
Sure that at the last in death
There will be no hate.

What can we know 
Of darkness ending light?
Will we then learn
In that eternal strike
God has Black Hands?


  1. Loved your Dad. He should have tried to publish thiss...or maybe he did?

  2. He loved you, too! As far as we know, it was just for his class, trying to inspire them and help them understand how they could talk about current events from a personal perspective. I've always been struck by the ending - a twist, for sure, and a powerful one, especially coming from someone who wasn't religious at all. He was a man of many surprises!