“The Saddest Story Ever Told” is a poem by Olivier Allstrom (1878 – 1963). I wonder if it doesn’t, in places, project male sentiments onto a female who made an irreversible mistake. Mudsharks strike me as too degraded to have these higher feelings. But I could be wrong.
Women who mix sentence themselves to internal exile. I heard of a European girl who married darkly in America and once visited her native country with her kids. A man smirked and told her, “Your parents must be very proud.” Henceforth, she traveled alone.
“The Saddest Story Ever Told”
When a white girl marries a negro, her sun of life goes down.
And glaring spots of sin appear on her white wedding gown.
And white and black men stand aghast, while viewing this strange role;
And mutter, “they will wreck themselves, and damn each other’s soul.”
We know a carnivorous bug has crept into her brain
And gnawed away her self-respect, which left her half insane.
Now all her racial pride has flown beyond redemption’s fold
And she begin’s life’s saddest tale that ever yet was told.
Three days and nights she felt black lips press smug against her own,
And on the fourth, her troubled soul, let out a frightful groan.
And so the weeks and months flew by, and then a baby came;
She looked at it with tear filled eyes, and hung her head with shame.
And then she dreamed of other days, sweet, girlhood days gone by,
And of the white friends left behind, and so we hear her cry;
“O, could I turn life’s pendulum backwards a few short years
I would not bear this cross today, nor shed these bitter tears.”
“My baby would be white as snow, and sleep upon my breast
Like a fledgling robin that slumbers in its nest.
While now, O God, my mongrel child just whimpers through the night
Till in my sleepless dreams I scream, not white, O God, not white!”
And so I stagger through my days far from God’s love and grace,
Till now, I know, no black man lives, can take a white man’s place.
My offsprings shall be mongrel bred, their hue-skin shall remain,
For even God with all His power, cannot remove the stain.
I sold my birthright for a mess, I mixed my white-born blood
With black blood, so I languish here like one bogged down in mud.
Though God may grant a pardon, I never can retrace
My footsteps down life’s narrow road, back to the white man’s race.
So now I groan, “It might have been,” had racial pride been mine.
Today I’d hug a pure white child, and call him half divine,
I’d lift him up before the world, and praise his father’s name,
While now, my baby’s mongrel face, reminds me of my shame.
All other crimes may be forgiven when prayer its power fulfills;
The scheming crook may find new hope, and even the man that kills,
But all my prayers can never clear my baby’s mongrel skin,
Nor make him white as driven snow, nor cleanse my soul of sin.
I was my father’s future hope, my mother’s joy and pride,
But I got lost on life’s dark road, and there my spirit died.
I smeared my all-white heritage and left the white man’s track,
Now my descendants for all time shall be forever black.
I try to hide from all the stars, the moon and setting sun;
For all mankind of my white race, condemn what I have done;
I tremble and my teardrops flow, I pray, but pray in vain;
For nevermore shall I be one with my white race again.
And so dark clouds above me roll, deep waters crash below,
I sink, and reap what I have sown, and drink my cup of woe.
My mother sleeps deep in her grave, my dad lies at her side,
For both were crushed when I became a negro’s common bride.
Now, should I decide to leave him, where could I choose to go?
My misspent life will follow me like footprints in the snow.
Before me lie dark jungles where paramours seek a prey;
Behind me death keeps whispering, “I am the only way.”
This black and white, prenuptial mess, this racial suicide;
Must be forbidden by the law, men must find racial pride!
Then, never again, forever, shall tales like mine unfold.
With all its shame and sadness, that ever yet was told.