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Tale of the Eloquent Agriculturalist: Lament for Sandra Bland

This is a tribute or lament in the style of Egyptians of the Middle Kingdom who tell a “Tale of the Eloquent Peasant.” In the tale, a good farmer on his way to market finds himself criminalized by a corrupt official who confiscates his donkeys and all the goods they were transporting. The farmer appeals his case relentlessly, undeterred by official indifference or abuse.

There once was a woman
called Sandra Bland
She was an Agriculturalist of Prairie View
“Look,” she said, “I am taking a job in Texas”

She then drove south into town
and seeing in her rearview mirror
a Texas trooper by name of MyLaw
she moved her car toward the curb

Our Law it was that she moved to facilitate
thinking that the trooper was
in a rightful hurry to serve and protect
“My way is good” said Sandra Bland

But MyLaw said to the agriculturalist
“Look I will stop your car”
And MyLaw berated the agriculturalist
for steering out of his way too fast

“Look you should have put on your turn signal
before you got out of my way” said MyLaw
Then said Sandra: “But clearly you wanted
to speed on past”

“Are you upset with me?” asked MyLaw
Said Sandra: “I think you should
hurry up and finish your job”
MyLaw replied “Finish your cigarette first”

“But why should I hurry to finish my cigarette?”
asked the eloquent agriculturalist
“Now,” said MyLaw, “You should hurry up
and step out of your car”

Then he took an electric stick
and shook it in her face
“I will light you up,” said MyLaw
“Hurry up and get out of your car”

Then the agriculturalist complained very much
for the hurt that MyLaw was creating
And MyLaw said “Don’t raise your voice
Or call your lawyer, just put down your phone”

Then the eloquent agriculturalist freed her hand
from the cell phone only to see that MyLaw
would tie her wrists together, bind them
and throw her body to the ground

“You are not a real man MyLaw”
said the eloquent agriculturalist
“Because a real man has courage to
enforce nothing but Our Law”

“Stop your mouth” said MyLaw
to the eloquent agriculturalist
“I only intended to rebuke you
with a mild slap on the wrist”

“Now your wrists are tied together,” said MyLaw
“and I have tied you like a calf in the dirt”
But the eloquent agriculturalist replied
“Sir your commands smell like the shit of a bull”

MyLaw rose from his knee that was digging
into the back of the eloquent agriculturalist
and looked to his own leg
“Look I am not very sore” he said

“But look at me” said the eloquent agriculturalist
“I am weighed down. Examine me.
My head and my arm. You have struck me.
You have thrown me down at my loss.”

“I will sail the boat of Our Law on the Sea of Truth”
said the eloquent agriculturalist
“But your boat, MyLaw, will go straight down
I can’t wait to see you wailing on that Sea,

I can’t wait to meet you there!”

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Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. Moses is a member of the Texas Civil Rights Collaborative. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

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