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Terry L. White

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Runaway Hearts
by Terry L. White   

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Books by Terry L. White
· Drama Queen Rules
· Chesapeake Visions
· Chesapeake Destiny
· Chesapeake Legacy
· Ancient Memories
                >> View all

Category: 

Poetry

ISBN-10:  1594311641

Copyright:  2004 ISBN-13:  9781594311642

Runaway Hearts is a poet's look at the history of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The verse visits a pirate, a healer, a tri-racial trapper, a waterman and his wife, as well as the story of Harriet Tubman's childhood and the beginning of her career on the Underground Railroad.

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Runaway Hearts is a history of the Eastern Shore in verse. It starts with the story of pirate Jonathan Bright, who searches for love around the world and finds it on the Eastern Shore when he befriends a young tri-racial trapper who falls in love with a girl from Cambridge. When he realizes the couple represent the love he seeks, Jonathan helps them escape the prejudice of the new colony.

The tale of Harriet Tubman starts in the little town of Bucktown where she is born enslaved. Harriet has a harsh childhood, and suffers a head injury when she is still young. The injury causes her to sleep and have strange dreams. Harriet marries a free man who takes her savings and runs with other women. Harriet, however, runs away to the North and freedom, and returns to save her sister and hundreds of her fellow slaves by leading them to safety in Canada.

In the third section of Runaway Hearts, Jack and Nicey Tilghman face a changed life when he returns from the Civil war. This section illuminates the waterman's culture, a way of life based on fishing and hunting on the remote islands of Dorchester County.

Art for this book was salvaged from women's magazines printed in the mid-19th century.


Excerpt

Harriet’s Song

Harriet Tubman was small-boned but strong
She worked in the world like a man.
Her story is here in the marshes and woods
I'll tell you as much as I can:

Screech owl call on a Bucktown night
Ain't no moon, ain't no light.
Child at rest on a corn shuck bed.
Strange dreams fill Mis’ Hattie's head!
Seven years old, a runaway twice,
Once, last spring, before, in the ice!
There's a song that bubbles deep in her soul
Hat's star points North, free life her goal.

"Rise up, Hat. You make your bed.
Poke that fire," her mother said.
"Sun's come up, don't play the fool.
Time to bend to Massa's rule ..."
She gathers eggs in the pink-washed dawn.
Brown feet bare, shift is torn.
Springy hair matted with dust and chaff
Big brown eyes, don't ever laugh.
She plucks the hen fruit one by one,
Tears fall quick when the hen pecks her thumb.
Round, white, smooth -- warm from breast,
She finds ten eggs in hidden nests.
Out from the Big House Mam gives out a yell,
“Bring that water from the well!"
Sun come hot, work begins.
Hat's heart rides out on a Freedom wind.
Gal just does the best she can,
Dream of a home in Freedom Land.

Out through the marsh her soul burn a path
Freedom is all she dream or ask.
Mockingbird squeaks like a cat in heat
Hat walks far on calloused feet.
Hair in rags, dress faded white,
Long time to go ‘til she rest at night.

Big Boy Sam all ready to run,
Boss sits scratchin', oil his gun.
Hat chooses sugar, flour, and thread.
Scale weight hits her in the head.
Sam flees through the hot afternoon,
Feet beat the rhythm of a Freedom tune.
Big Sam go down by an old scrub pine
Waste of good cash, but the boy crossed line.
Hat lies like dead in the mercantile floor,
Blood soak head, dress is tore.
Hat won't wake, don’’t move, just snore.
No one want her any more.

Long time now the slave gal sleep
In the Freedom dream, her poor heart weeps.
Only a slave in the Tidewater heat
Work like a mule if she want to eat.

Sometimes now she see strange sights
Places and faces, and dark of night.
Railroad car. Waterfall.
Some things, she don't know at all.
Brothers and sister cry to be fed.
Hat walk on with feet like lead.
If she sit, she sleep.They have her beat.
Does no good to wail, nor weep.
Big House too wide, too clean, too hot.
Smell of termites, rain, and rot.
Hat works hard, her Pa's right hand.
Saws timber trees that anchor land.

Screech owl call on a Bucktown night
Hat broods on a Northern flight,
Up through Philly where the Quakers stay
They help a slave along her way!
Hat just wait till her time is right
Saves good food against her flight.
She'll miss her kin, but the path is clear.
She step out soft, without a fear.
On through field, through marsh and wood,
Dark, so a lantern do no good.
Mist’ Brodass land, then county line,
Don't ever think of what's behind.
Piney wood mutters with snakes and bugs
Poison ivy spreads like rug.
Hat moves on, there’s just one way.
She’ll be free, or dead one day!




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