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  • Oscar Brown, Jr.


In the sluggish sleep of slaves

From your cradles to your graves

You live unaware of your great power and where it’s gotten from

But the minute you awake

This whole Planet Earth will shake

To your rhythmic cosmic drum

Everything in all Creation

Has its own distinct vibration

That keeps moving to a universal measure we call time

As these movements then repeat

It’s their time to which they beat

For time is the force sublime

Any life that ever lived

Came in time wrapped as a gift

To be either used up well or else allowed to go to waste

None knows how long time will last

But we all know once it’s passed

Time can never be replaced

Any present time provides

Time itself also divides

Into regulated segments

Seconds, minutes, hours, days

Into weeks, months, seasons years

to which every age appears

Each in its decided space

So, as nature runs its course

Time has been its moving force

And although some time may seem to lag as other time has leapt

As it’s moved along its way

No time has been made to stay

Just its rhythm has been kept

Now a rhythm seems to last

Like a shadow time has cast

Like the visible remains of some invisible event

The more any rhythm swings

The more energy it brings

The more power it represents

Of course people who can call

Upon rhythm best of all

Are you relatives of Africa where human life began

No one else of any race

Has the necessary grace

To keep time the way you can

Time that you translate to dance

Into music to entrance

And engage the human spirit in activity so fine

That you shouldn’t find it odd

If it’s called the Grace of God

For indeed it is divine

To take time and make it swing

Is so valuable a thing

It cannot be bought nor sold for any specified amount

Call it destiny or fate

It’s your gift at any rate

Which you suffer to discount

You still hear the old echo

Of a time you won’t let go

When black bodies, minds and souls were being held by whips and chains

But the chains have gone to rust

And the whips have turned to dust

Just their memory remains

Like a nightmare you might dream

With a foul, recurring theme

That will vanish into nothing once you awaken from your sleep

Then as you enjoy your gift

Every heart will get a lift

From the moving time you keep

You whom God has graced to swing

Must “lift every voice and sing”

Sending images to satellites from which they will rebound

To paint entertaining scenes

Upon television screens

For all people, world around

With the Grace of God you’ve got

You need never fire a shot

To create a mighty force too powerful to be withstood

It’s your legacy at birth

To be used for all it’s worth

And provide for your own good

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