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Updated: 6 days ago

This life we share with one another is often full of the passions of love, anger,

ignorance, greed, discrimination, jealousy, challenges and opportunities. Those who

came before , who some may have called wisdom teachers and elder guides, came to

light our way to a better understanding for a better future. If we listen to their

guidance, learning and change is possible. Otherwise our unrecognized habit of

suffering repeats itself.

A friend, Rev. Dr. A. Hasani Perry, was inspired to share this guidance through the

poetry below.

Our task is only to listen, reflect, and learn:

Ballad of the Land Changers

Originally composed for America’s Bi-Centennial 1976

by Dr. A. Hasani Perry

Bringing their African chants,

They came to work the land.

They came on ships across these shores,

To work for others’ gain.

They worked the fields, they built the roads,

And while they worked they sang;

They sang and prayed and worked and hoped

To return to a better land.

And everywhere they went, it seems,

Things changed because of them . . .

Things changed

Because of them.

The cotton grew, tobacco too,

Wealth spread across this land.

The slaves worked on, prayed and sang . . .

Some planned for another day.

In small towns, big cities and islands too,

They worked and sang and prayed

And everywhere they went, it seems,

Things changed because of them . . .

Things changed because of them.

Down South, Up North, East and West,

Came the slaves with their African chants.

Others heard the WORD in the African sounds,

Rhythm stirred within their breast.

Music changed with the African Chant,

Bringing life where there was death.

Blue “Spirit Songs” rang throughout the land,

Bringing joy where there was pain.

Worship, too, began to change,

Dead hearts began to feel.

And people who were changing began

To vision a better land.

Some changing people called to their gods,

Known by many names,

Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, God

To show them a better way.

While the slaves kept working,


And building

For a better day.

In South America with Santeria,

West Indies and the Limbo,

North America and its spirit songs,

These slaves their “magic” worked.

And those who, at first,

Tried to change the slaves

Were changed, instead,

By them.

And everywhere they went, it seems,

Things changed because of them . . .

Things changed

Because of them.

And now, some say, it was all in the plan;

All planned by those who “knew.”

To send these slaves to transform the earth,

To humanize this land.

Could it be true that the better land,

Hoped for in distant past . . .

Is what’s been changing, being changed,

By those who came for others’ gain?

If this be true, then ANOTHER CHANGE

Must be the nature of gain.

For a better land cannot be reaped,

While some remain in pain.

So change goes on . . . while many work

To make real the better day,

Hearing the Chants, they transform themselves,


May all benefit for all relations.

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