I heard the waters crashing in the cave,
Stark faces staring in the dark,
Solemn-sad ancestors--white-washed railings--
And I heard
The voices calling in the dark,
in the dark beside the fire,
With the water's spray flung crashing
I heard dark voices calling,
Still the waters crashing in the cave,
And I heard the weird reply,
Heard the meaningless reply
Of the singing, shrill-voiced women,
"That way, too, leads out of doors!
In the cave is still outside!"
Still the waters crashing, splashing,
Flung the spray in faces staring
Down like portraits on the wall,
Pale, stark portraits on the walls,
High, pale walls with blue wall-paper
And the elegant engraving
Of the molding on the walls.
Still the sea came, crashing, crashing
And the howling winds blew free
From the cave and from the darkness;
From the fireside all around.
Still the voices chanting, singing,
The god Damballa
From his home
Beneath the sea!
And the flames leaped higher, higher
Like the fire that blazed the pathway
Of the blue-clad Sherman marching
From Atlanta to the sea!
And the voices from the islands
And the voices from the shorelines
And the sunken lands that lie between
The forests and the sea,
Hear your children?
Come and hear us!
Set us free!