H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


Is He Still There?
By Terilyn Dumas

Is He still there?
Many today may ask.

How can he be 
When innocent lives are taken
From Martin Luther King, Jr. to Prince Jones
No one can tell us what went wrong.

Sixteen-year-old girls with two kids
Penitentiaries full of boys 
Serving the sentences of men.
We're afraid to walk in our own streets after dark.
Our children aren't safe in a neighborhood park.

Drugs have taken over the community.
Everywhere I turn
Poverty and Destitution surround me.
A new case of HIV on college campuses every week.
Must there be fighting and shooting whenever we 

God, have you turned your back on us?
How could I have dared to ask?
You let me see another day
Maybe it's us who've turned away.

We set aside time to cook, clean, and shop.
Not thinking to prepare our souls for the last day
When time stops.

Television and computers have replaced parents
Put down our Bibles
Picked up pagers, PDAs, and cellular phones
One of which we never fail to leave home.

There was a time when we prayed
Not for a new Mercedes Benz 
Or a Cadillac Escalade.
But for God to protect, guide, and free
The Black Race.

Church, where we used to sing and pray
Is reserved only for a convenient Sunday.
Love of Money, once the root of all evil
Has become the seed from which every action sprouts.
Nothing matters but having the most amount.

Everytime we think You've turned aside
We fail to see ourselves through Your eyes.
If we included You in everyday
Not just when things have gone astray,
We'd find that You never left us
It was the other way.

 2001 Terilyn Dumas

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
HOWARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059.  Phone (202) 806-7234.