The Judgement Day (1 of 8)
The Judgement Day begins the crown of sonnets based on famed Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas’ illustrations for James Weldon Johnson’s “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse.”
It’s more than just a painting for a poem –
or even a sonnet for a painting
(we’d be so vain to suggest!). The story
is far greater than the sum of its parts.
The judgement day is what we seek, and fear:
in no hurry to pay for our misdeeds,
give us reparations now for insults,
moral crimes against us, past and present.
There is a discrimination – between
the sinners and the saved, darkness dwellers,
those who see the light. Salvation’s shining
ray uplifts the soul; lightning bolts reveal
the lumps of lead the wicked thought were pots
of earthly gold. And time shall be no more.
Aaron Douglas’s The Judgement Day served as illustration for the final sermon in James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones.