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Once he had a jug like this, though not for serving beer,Not squat, and made of finest porcelain, butRough, red clay, with slim and graceful neck,It kept the water cool inside his mother's hut.
Once he watched vessels, boats, not pirate shipsWith western flags and canvas sails a-quiver,But small fishermen's crafts, which floated, bobbed and weavedAmong the rushes on the Niger River.
He danced once, not to sound of whip crack,Limbo-ing across the deck from out a stinking hold,But to the voice of talking drums, he poundedBlack earth, with nimble feet, carefree and bold.
He worked in fields, not on sugar-cane plantations,Where lacerated black backs fester in the sun,But among the palms, where digging, planting yams,They spiced the air with laughter, talk and song.
Once he had a name, not borrowed from a stranger,Not one with meaning long forgotten or unknown,But a title held throughout his generations,And one that he was proud to call his own.
He had a body, not a cherub's, softly plump and white,With flowing hair tumbling down - instead,He had a face and body, black and sinewy,And hair curled tight, and close around his head.
One day he read a poem, and wondered at the handWhich wrote "'twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land."
Designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners, the Haberdashers’ 4th Livery Hall was officially opened in October 2002 by the Queen.
Time To Build by Adam Hayes.Screen print.Limited edition of 200, signed and numberedAdam Hayes is an illustrator currently working from a quiet corner…
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