Beautiful Dark Child


The blog experts say successful blogs stick to a theme. This blog is primarily about theology and the beautiful Jewish roots of Christianity, but today I digress.Just like everyone else, I have a story and while I am the nerd reading the Rabbis for enjoyment, I am also the mother of five children. Two of the three were adopted from Haiti. They have been home a long time now.

All five of my children have helped shape my life and my faith as profoundly as a rushing river molds the landscape through which it runs  But how can I quantify the magnitude with which the adoption of my daughters revolutionized who I am and what I believe?  Impossible.

This morning, I was trying to write when my youngest daughter wandered in wearing her pajamas. She snuggled up on the sofa next to me. I bent to kiss the top of her head and nuzzled soft dredlocks scented with lavender.  She turned her face up to me for a kiss and then scooted over to read Winnie the Pooh. I sat watching her in the soft lamplight and was reminded of a night 7 1/2 years ago when I lay beside her in a bed in Port-Au-Prince, watching her sleep in the moonlight. We were nearing the end of a brutal two year journey in which she languished in a orphanage in need of a mother while I worked, prayed, grieved, and pleaded with God to bring her and her older sister home. The night was hot and the power was out as I lay pondering all she had endured and how far we had to go. I slipped from bed and wrote this poem for her by flashlight.

Beautiful Dark Child

Beautiful dark child,

I lie watching you sleep in the moonlight, your skin in sharp relief with the white sheets surrounding you.

Ebony tresses, in braids, are beautiful even in slumber.

Thick, curly lashes cover pools of deepest onyx I know lie beneath.

Dark child, sleep on.

You are restless in your sleep, tossing back and forth, haunted by aching loss, ravenous need.

But I am here now, and when you cry out, I place my hand on your chest to comfort you.

Beneath my fingers your heart beats in rhythm with ancient drums.

Africa is in your veins.

Dark child, look back.

The blood of your ancestors flows through you.

Their perseverance, their struggle, their fight!

You are the precious fruit of the strength of their will. They overcame and so will you.

Dark child, heed their example.

Dark child, lead on…..

By: Sherri Gragg

Written in Haiti by flashlight.

3 Replies to “Beautiful Dark Child”

  1. Geez-once again I have to pick myself off the floor. Did you know I love your beautiful children too? Thank you Graggs and God for bringing them to our home too. Love, Allison

  2. Has it really been 7 1/2 years? I suppose so.
    I get it. I GET it. I have lain on that same bed with own my dark child–the love of our lives. And I’ve never forgotten how you bravely stood up for him when the woman charged with his care did NOT care. Beautiful children. Beautiful poem. Thank you.

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