Saving, Sacrificing and Sailing By Jeanine Jones No walking on water or calming the sea Though, like the savior, he stretched his hands to thee Those drowning about the cold, murky, muddy, Mississippi On a spring day in Memphis, in May From the “Zev”, his work boat he kept them afloat Reaching, reaching, reaching Stretching, stretching, stretching Pulling, pulling, pulling them in, one by one, calmly Saving, sacrificing and sailing Saving man, after man, after woman 32 total they say “A Worthy Negro” is what they called him after rescuing them Even though he couldn’t swim he risked his life Sacrificing to save them The “Norman” capsizing, overturning in the water didn’t steer him away This heroic act of a non-swimmer Sailing through turbulent tides of the Mighty MS Mastering the captivating currents sway Just as the high waters and winds washed his first monument marker away chartering the waters he quickly encouraged, inspired and reassured delivering shocked, shivering, fallen passengers to destination safety Retrieved from the river by a simple, extraordinary, bashful, brave, courageous and calm Hero Three monuments honoring him still sit A gifted home from the Engineers Club in north Memphis on Mansfield Street Here to stay, the most worthy one, the life-like figure one, sits at Tom Lee Park life-sized, bravery in bronze, bronze beauty by the riverside Then, his final resting place, Mt. Carmel Cemetery These landmarks embark his life, his legacy This noteworthy Negro’s nautical navigation commanded the waters Sailing passengers to safety This noteworthy Negro is Tom Lee
Jeanine Jones is a small P.E.A. (Poet, Educator, Author) in a big pot, packing a lot of flavor. She loves the arts and uses poetry as her gel to make literacy stick. She has written five books and plays, including We Can All Decorate the Same Tree.