Children running on a boardwalk

Emmett Till Poem

Why am I sharing this poem? Because it’s simple and heartbreaking and beautiful. I also think Easter is an appropriate time to remember Emmett Till. Let’s hope that somewhere, somehow Emmett and all the other unfortunate and tortured children over the millenia are reborn: enjoying spring, feasting, playing, reading–as so many of us are privileged to do.

Emmett Till *

By James Emanuel

I hear a whistling
Through the water.
Little Emmett
Won’t be still.
He keeps floating
Round the darkness,
Edging through
The silent chill.

Tell me, please,
That bedtime story
Of the fairy
River Boy
Who swims forever,
Deep in treasures,
Necklaced in
A coral toy.

* In 1955, Till, a fourteen-year-old from Chicago, for
allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, was murdered
by white men who tied a gin mill fan around his neck and threw his
body into the Tallahatchie River.




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