I write to tell you about a project I’ve been involved in and to ask your support of it.

For several years, I have been involved with Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty, an Alabama-based organization, making and maintaining their website and other special projects.

Project Hope’s Chairman, Darrell B. Grayson, is a talented writer. He learned to write, and write very well, during more than two decades he has spent on Death Row in Alabama. Over the last few years, Darrell has had poems published in a number of magazines including Right Hand Pointing and, most recently, the Birmingham Arts Journal which is published by the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Birmingham author Sandra Agricola and I operate a literary press called Mercy Seat Press.  We publish chapbooks and full-length books, mostly by area authors, the proceeds of which support charities selected by our authors.

Sandra and I decided that Darrell’s poetry deserved publication, collected in book form. We are proud to make available AGAINST TIME, poems by Darrell B. Grayson. Here is an excerpt from the Foreword, which I am proud to have contributed.

“A lot of people in prison turn to poetry. Any poet—and any convict—can easily understand why. How rare, though, to discover writing of this quality by a man with so few resources, no poetry mentors, no workshops, and a limited collection of poetry books. My colleague, poet Sandra Agricola, says of Darrell’s poetry, ‘such freedom evoked by one so confined.'”

“This is a book of poems. It does not speak directly of the death penalty and will not argue a case to the reader. However, after hearing this voice, a reader cannot help but be reminded that the State of Alabama has the power to still it. We take comfort in knowing that years from now, regardless of those years go for Darrell, he will have left behind something good, something beautiful. We all hope that is true of our lives.”

 

Proceeds from the sales of Darrell’s book go to Project Hope. We hope you’ll order a copy. Please consider ordering an extra copy or two for your friends. Put a copy in the hands of an open-minded person who is pro-Death Penalty. Remind them of the humanity of those who face execution.

 

To order, please send $13.00 ($12.00 plus $1.00 shipping and handling) to:

 

Mercy Seat Press

2121 Vesthavia Drive

Birmingham, Alabama 35216

Alternately, you can Paypal the funds to dwwisely@hiwaay.net

and I’ll see that you get your copy/copies.

 

Remember, the sale of this book benefits Project Hope!

Thank you!

Sincerely,

 

Dale Wisely

 

UNIVERSAL SONG

by Darrell B. Grayson

Oh, teach me the meaning of tenderness, dear skies,

Through the unfurling ribbons of your embrace.

Whisper to me the ethics of being lean

In my feasting celebration for life

For love…for kinds.

I hear your voice in bounteous boughs,

In the nectar-driven honey bee.

It resonates in inky caves of tribal spleens,

In the life of life flowing ever onwards,

Those that bubble up and sweet,

In the fragrant blossom of lovers’ buds

In grasses nurturing and decorative.

I see your voice in heavenly colors,

In shooting stars and half hills,

Mountains,

In the heavens.

Teach me Virgil’s history of tender plan,

And open the eyes in the confrontation of self.

Give me visions of supping lions and tigers,

Moors and Spaniards and Romans,

Of Apaches and Pilgrims,

Of Africans and Mankind.

Oh, teach me gentleness,

As the palms sway on the breeze,

As soft wings night creatures surviving

Survive, then gentleness.

 

 

from Against Time. Copyright 2005, 2006, by Darrell B. Grayson