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Chains and Hope
by Claude Jones

Chains hold, ropes tie and bind
Open my eyes to see, and free my troubled mind

Things I was taught, learned and believed
Thoughts I contrived, calculated and conceived

As I grew, I found them wrong, false and bitter lies
But locked in my mind, locked with binds and held with ties

I put them aside with effort and thought
Put away forever, never more to be sought

For no difference I found, but color of the skin
No difference at all, when I looked at heart lying within

Can pigment mean some great or ghastly thing
Can souls be less? What does it cause or bring

I only had to get to know, to open my eyes and see
They had the same wants, needs, hurts and sorrows as me

So I saw things differently, never more the same
I wanted to straighten others out, and to place the blame

I felt self-righteous, superior, above the normal plane
But I did nothing to help or heal, was there real gain

I swore to raise my sons, with a different attitude
I tried to teach and show them, to have no different latitude

Now instead of learning from me, they have moved way on ahead
They correct me and chide me, for things I should not have said

They hold no malice, as I would like to be
I pray for the day when my prejudice will finally set me free


And here’s another beautiful poem from Claude Jones.


How can I, a country boy, with slow Southern drawl
Feel the movements of symphonies and the classic’s call

Why do Mozart’s wild notes, move me to tears
Why do Beethoven’s flowing chords, drive away my fears

How can Schubert’s bars and time, open my veiled eyes
How can Tchaikovsky’s high clear tones, induce my cries

Vivaldi’s violins violate and validate violently my vanity
Bach bows before beautifully bombarding brain cells bringing sanity

Mendelssohn’s melodies, feed my soul, and I am inspired
I become free, mind opened, my spirit fired

My soul, my self, my very being
Made alive, I am present, feeling and seeing

No bounds, no bonds, can hold nor my mind secure
Nothing neither thought nor learned, can my coming dreams detour

I have seen, heard and felt the force that truly leads
I am privileged to receive the nectar of the music that fills and feeds

Nourishment flows from classical music, I am made strong
Music of the Masters, so thrills, I am part, I belong

Violins sound with each draw and stoke of bow
Harpsichord and bassoon, tuba and French horn, sweet and low

I have found the zenith, the ultimate, the peak
I, through music of the Masters, am no longer weak

Music written by the greats, inspired by love of life
Music written in triumph, in sorrow, in woe and tortured strife

Music to touch, to reach with outstretched hand
Music to encompass, to teach, to build, to expand

Classical music is the very breath, it can be breathed to sustain and ensure
My hope in life, my soul to fire, to cleanse, to make me whole and pure


Claude Jones writes:
I write poetry for the pleasure of writing. Writing is my escape, often my very best friend. I read and love free verse poetry but for me to write I seemingly must write in meter and rhyme.

I was born, raised and lived all my life in Pontotoc, Mississippi. I was raised on a farm where we milked cows, raised cotton, corn, and had a peach orchard. I have worked for Pontototc Electric Power for 31 years. My wife Ann and I have two sons, both are pharmacists, and we have two grandchildren.

"Chains and Hope" was written to express my struggle to overcome my prejudice, having grown up in the segregated South and my determination to raise my sons to hold no prejudice.


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