Tread Softly

“…But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
– W.B. Yeats

It is morning
His eyes open to see another day
He thanks The Maker
For life, for breath, for dreams
They are a refuge for him, a shield, a safe haven
A glimpse as to what the future holds
An episode filled with wonder and danger
A break from the toils of yet another day
A breath of fresh air whilst drowning in reality
A soft reset from the hard knocks of this life
He dreams of what he would be
He dreams of what he could be
He dreams of making a difference
He dreams of being the difference
His dreams are limitless, immortal, eternal
His dreams are his own, they give him hope
tread softly…

It is midday
There’s a black body in the streets
There’s another black body in the streets
Another hashtag, another dream deferred
All lives don’t seem to matter
Ambushed, he escapes within himself to dream
But all he sees – black bodies
In the streets
In the trees
Hands up
Can’t breathe
A painful reminder that his dreams don’t matter either
Surrounded by death, all he can dream about is life
But the waters of reality grow deeper and bleaker
The hard knocks of life just keep getting harder
Reality embeds itself in his subconscious
Replaying and retelling the grim story at will
As empowering as his dreams are they are not omnipotent
As liberating as his dreams are they are not boundless
Shaped and formed by The Black Experience
His dreams are very much tethered to this reality –
Bearing the weight of his skin like a scarlet letter
All he can dream about is being alive
tread softly…

It is night
What are his dreams now?
Residual images from yet another bloody day
The voices of the dead crying out for justice
The unwelcome reminder that his time is fixed
A portend of doom surrounding his own grim fate
His life seemingly a threat, his body the target
A dream is only as lasting as the life tied to it
It’s not just black bodies piling up, but black dreams
It’s not just black people being silenced, but black dreamers
Don’t they know that, when you end a life, you kill a dream?
Or is his body not the target but, rather, what he could be?
tread softly…