Villanelle

for Henry Hampton

The story is finished but it is not complete.
We have listened, we have seen, we have been told,
Accolades, applause, are no mean feat

Nor celebration, nor awards. So why do we weep?
Weep for the archives, the untold metaphors of gold.
The series is finished but it is not complete.

In a great land, a country we so yearn to greet,
The comings, the goings of color, bright, black, unfold,
Accolades, applause, are no mean feat.

In life, in love, in passion, there is no retreat,
We go deep within our soul and pray it will hold.
The story is finished but it is not complete.

Was it today or yesterday the prize was sweet,
Pain and vision magnified a thousandfold,
Accolades, applause are temporal receipts.

Gentle spirit, castles in the air, these are concrete
Around us, surround us, told, untold and retold.
The story is finished but it is not complete.
Accolades, applause, are no mean feat.

Henry Hampton was the producer of Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS history of the civil rights movement.