________ FREDDIE GRAY _________
(A Parody of Wordsworth’s Lucy Gray)
Oft we have heard of Freddie Gray,
And, when we crossed the town,
We chanced to see at break of day
His blood still raining down.
No mate, no comrade Freddie knew;
He lurks forevermore, ––
A sadder apparition few
Will see in Baltimore!
Oh you may spy the Dregs at play,
With Crack and Coke obscene;
But the tortured face of Freddie Gray
Will never more be seen.
“To-night the monkey on my back,
Says downtown you must go,
And take my pipe to fill with crack
To pushers with my dough.”
“That, Mother! Will I gladly do;
‘Tis not long after noon ––
The Hopkins Clock has just struck two,
You’ll get your pipe filled soon.”
At this the Mother roared and shook,
Then snapped out what she’d planned
“Begone and quick,” so Freddie took
The Meerschaum in his hand.
And hither towards the dens of vice;
With many a wanton stroke
Poor Freddie took his Ma’s advice,
He knew it was no joke.
But riots rose before their time,
As Freddie wandered down,
And many hills did Freddie climb
To reach the flaming town.
The wretched mother all that night
Kept cursing loud and vile;
But there was no one wrong or right
To neutralize her bile.
At day-break by his door she stood,
Peered towards the Inner Harbor;
And in a looking glass saw she should
Visit soon a barber.
Dejected now she turned, and cried
"I hope in Heaven we’ll meet!"
As on the pavement she espied
The print of Freddie's feet.
Then downward from the steep hill's edge
She tracked the footprints small;
Right to the edge of a stone ledge,
Atop a high stone-wall;
And then an open lot she cross'd,
With cans and bottles strewn;
She tracked the prints, nor ever lost,
Until it was high noon.
She followed through the cursed spots
Until she reached an alley,
A place of many dried blood clots
Deep in a Shadowed Valley.
Poor Freddie’s footprints disappear'd
He ne’er was seen again
Though many said they greatly feared
He’d died in screaming pain.
Yet some maintain that to this day
He is a living Child,
That you may see poor Freddie Gray
His body undefiled.
Through Baltimore he trips along,
In sunshine rain and wind;
And hums a plaintive little song
Denying he has sinned.