Posts Tagged ‘May 1953’

Africa: My First Publication, May 1953

June 26, 2017

AFRICA
By Bill McCurdy
Age 15
May 1953

 

Everything has a beginning except God Himself. This afternoon I remembered that years ago I found the first thing I ever had published in a late May final school year copy of the The St. Thomas Eagle, the newspaper of St. Thomas High School here in Houston. I wasn’t writing for the paper then. I was still playing baseball and busy finishing up my freshman year of high school at age 15.

Then somebody lit up my sky. Someone on the newspaper, and I never learned who it was, had pulled an English composition poem I had written out of the student papers bin and published it in that last copy of The Eagle – and with credit to me as “Africa” by Bill McCurdy.

It may as well have been the New York Times or The New Yorker. – Who in their right mind would want to publish anything I wrote, spoke the dreamer mind of a kid from the east end. Because, even if my long dead never-met-him grandfather had been a newspaper man, and even if I always had given “journalism” as my answer to the famous “what do you want to when you grow up” question, I still figured that I was a long way off at age 15 from actually writing anything that anyone would care to print. As such, the St. Thomas Eagle looked pretty lofty to this once innocent mind at the time. I was just beside myself with joy, even if now, I see so much of the limited and naive perspective I had upon Africa and its people in those past and then present times.

Nobody ever wrote anything positive about Africa and her people that I ever read back in 1953 – and I wanted to give it a try, even if my wounded and limited thoughts on Christian history and salvation were just about all I had to offer to the poetic art form back in those getting-ready-to-heat-up times in the march for essential racial change in America. I guess sometimes we only respond to the part of truth’s light that hits us directly – and even then – the light is dimmed by the presence of an overriding cultural darkness and atmosphere of restraint that is only overcome when wisdom finally speaks loudly enough for us to hear the message that we have no good choice but to respond in the name of justice. That wisdom day came a little later for me, but, had the Eagle not published “Africa”, I most likely would have forgotten when I heard its first whispers. Then it later became a fire that will never go out.

Thank you, St. Thomas Eagle! ~ Thank you, Anonymous Editorial Rescuer! ~ Thank you, “Africa”!

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Africa

By Bill McCurdy, May 1953

Africa, the land of the dark-skinned people;

Some are pygmies, some tall as a steeple.

Africa, the land of the lion’s roar,

That echoes from Capetown to the Red Sea’s shore.

 

Africa, the land of the Great Pyramid;

Where the treasure of Cheops, securely is hid.

Africa, the land where the native’s drum beat,

Travels far into the torrid jungle heat.

 

Africa, the land where big game are sought;

Where many a battle twixt man and beast are fought.

Africa, the land where the River Nile,

Stretches out in gusto for many a mile.

 

Africa, the land where the Moslem horde,

Spread its religion by use of the sword.

Africa, the land where the feet of the Vandals,

Replaced the footsteps of Roman Sandals.

 

Africa, the land where the Second World War,

Left the Dark Continent with a battle scar,

Africa, the land where men want peace,

And that never again shall their freedom cease.

 

Africa, the land where the pagan mold,

Produces new fields for missionaries to hold.

Africa, the land where civilization came late;

But a few years from now, she will surely be great.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle