"Cross That Line"

"Cross That Line"

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Paul Robeson stood
on the northern border
of the USA
and sang into Canada
where a vast audience
sat on folding chairs
waiting to hear him.

He sang into Canada.
His voice left the USA
when his body was
not allowed to cross
that line.

Remind us again,
brave friend.
What countries may we
sing into?
What lines should we all
be crossing?
What songs travel toward us
from far away
to deepen our days?

This poem is excerpted with permission from Naomi Shihab Nye's collection of poetry, You & Yours. For more poetry, visit our Poetry Radio Project.

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is the author of 19 Varieties of Gazelle, You & Yours, Words Under Words, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and Transfer.