We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For

June Jordan's poem had the exclamation point "We are the ones we have been waiting for"

The sharing of this poem is my belated commemoration of International Women’s Day. Free nations value women with inner strength. The subject of this poem was a group of women with inner strength.

We are the ones we have been waiting for

The apartheid government of South Africa had a system of laws to control the movement and gathering of the black African population. An attempt was made in the 1950’s to expand the scope of these laws to include women. It was not received well. On 9 August 1956, more than 50,000 women of every ethnicity staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They left bundles of petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at the office of Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom. Outside they stood silently for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honor of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock!)

This poem was written by June Jordan about 25 years after that event, and presented at the United Nations in 1978. The exclamation point of the poem was quoted by then-Senator Obama at a pivotal point of his 2008 Presidential campaign. June Jordan didn’t coin that beautiful exclamation point, but she brought it into the light of day.

In a recent webcast, Marshall Vian Summers said something which built on the spirit of this poem:

“Do not, then, pray to Jesus, the Buddha or the Mohammed to come and restore the world, for this is the work of the human family. For Jesus, the Buddha and the Mohammed have greater tasks in the universe. They will not clear the air or purify the waters or restore the soils. They will not replenish the vital resources that have been plundered and wasted as humanity has destroyed the very foundation on which it stands in this world. They will not undo the ravages of war and destitution. This is the work of people in the world, the vital work, the necessary work, the reason you have come to play your small but necessary part.”

Poem for South African Women

Commemoration of the 40,000 women and children who,
August 9, 1956, presented themselves in bodily protest against
the “dompass” in the capital of apartheid. Presented at The
United Nations, August 9, 1978.

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea

we are the ones we have been waiting for

This poem can be found in the book Passion: Poems 1977-1980. I hope that sharing this poem is a small but necessary part of my small but necessary part. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

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