Occasioned by the words of Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, on May 19, 2017
Or, rather, were deliberately removed—
Lee, Davis, Beauregard, whose stories tell
A shameful blot in hindsight well reproved:
The legacy of slavery, in the South,
But also in much of the hemisphere,
Reveals—despite the platitudes of mouth—
What evil lies in men: it happened here.
But only by the lash, the chain, the gag,
With tortures, jails, and ravenous trained dogs,
Through ignorance instilled, and laws to drag
Body and soul to where compassion clogs—
Only according to such devious means
Will man submit to man, in slavery:
The moment let us mark in New Orleans
In testament all bondsmen should breathe free.
Not raucously, but with consideration,
Deliberately, the statues which report
Heinous injustice as blighted a nation—
These have come down, for they were never sport.
Emblems of terror, let us do without them;
The past as past will never be forgotten;
Compassionate accords, let us not flout them,
Lest malice turn trust’s treasured compact rotten.