HIS BREATHING CALLS YOU * (In Memory of James Farmer): R.G. RADER


His breathing calls you back each day
He reads the news to find the place
Where you now march and journey near
To hate where fathers and their sons
Have died. He holds his life
A walk in rhythm’s memory
Borders grazed by ancestral blood
Border haze of deep white fog
That smothers love in earnest.
His breathing calls you back
Folds you safely in his home-spun death
Where now he gives his breath away
Calls you to rest, his rest
That keeps you safe.

*The poem “His Breathing Calls You” is in reference to a story James Farmer told of his father’s deathbed struggle to stay alive so that his son, James, would come back to see him safe from a dangerous civil rights march in the South. Farmer’s father had not wanted him to participate in the march in Alabama. His father thought that if he could stay alive long enough to call his son back to his side, James would be safe. James Farmer did return from the trip, and his father died soon, after knowing his son was safe.












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