The Guilt I Hold Inside Is Now Gone

I watched another African
Get thrown into the sea;
Watching him sink deeper and deeper
Until we didn’t see him;

I laughed like we usually do
When one of those so-called “warriors” died;
But, I felt a strong pain in myself,
Something I’ve never felt before;

It was a strange pain,
It hurt so much I had to leave;
I sat down and rubbed my forehead,
Thinking of what just happened;

I thought about that African we threw overboard,
How it must feel like to be hurt, scared, sad, broken;
That night I cried and cried and cried,
Unable to stop that terrible feeling;

I woke up from the screams and cries of the Africans,
And went down to make sure the Africans were not dead and the chains were tight;
All of the sudden I heard thundering footsteps
And the cries of a storm;

I ran up and saw everyone panicking,
Running up and down while rain poured like mad;
There, right in front of me, was John Newton,
The captain, or the slave ship master;

He kneeled down, he looked like he was begging,
His face full of sorrow;
Just like I was last night,
He was crying with what seemed like the same pain I felt;

I took a step forward and kneeled down slowly,
Not sure that he would mind;
But, he grabbed my shoulder,
And said something that I would never forget;

“Let us, two darken souls, be saved, dear Lord,
We know we’ve done many wrong things;
Spare us so that we may, in return, stop our ways of trading slaves,”
That pain I used to feel was guilt, but I was spared by Amazing Grace.

--Annika P., 7th-8th Grade