It's in Me

"It's in Me" by Cheryl Johnson

Editor's note: On Thursday, February 11, UTO family member Cheryl Johnson recited an original poem titled "It's in Me" to over 300 UTO family members at the monthly virtual Town Hall. Together, UTO explored the powerful symbiotic relationship between culture and innovation, celebrated Black History Month and heard from guest speaker Larry Irving, originator of the term “digital divide." 

It's in Me

by Cheryl Johnson

One day I remembered, I am in Creation; Creation is in me

Unrestrained by time, Creation is awesome, powerful, mighty

Reaching through ages of time and embers of mystery

Creation beckoned, I was awakened by its urgency

What have you learned, what do you see?

Do you accept it is I reaching for thee?

Believe you are not forgotten, relegated to the past; of antiquity

As you live, as you breathe, inwardly hear your mothers’ and fathers’ jubilee

Rejoice! I recall they shouted, at last she feels her heritage, our ancestry

Oh, the stories they could tell of woe and misery

But since you asked daughter, today we will speak instead on Life’s symphony

They say, in our arrogance of many things we claim mastery

We have forgotten, the beauty of sound existed before humanity

There, the sound of love fills the world, words cannot explain such majesty

Every living thing makes sound, roar of waves, buzz of bee

In this place, it takes no ears to hear, no eyes to see

Love, the essence of all there is; woven into earth’s tapestry

To take part for a moment, fills me with joy unimaginable; I am reduced humbly

Stop! The land commands before you speak more of our history

Child, it is not etiquette but respect to greet elders, First People, who for me, make melody

Rhythmic chants, pounding feet, drumming beats, sounds of celebrations, gloriously

With permission I move on to music enslaved people used to be free

Music of love is creation; it cannot be chained, caged; told where it can live; or who it can

and cannot be

Music, like love, is not murdered in the street, confined by age, gender, race or nationality

This explains how all around the world we translate notes and measures into harmony

Elements of sound played on trumpets of Louis Armstrong and Dizzie Gillespie

Evoke memories, emotions, spaces of the imaginary

To hear Etta James and Muddy Waters sing the blues, magically

Music transports you; moves you to laughter or melancholy

Bittersweet thoughts of my Momma playing Marvin Gaye, Helen Reddy, Dionne Warwick; a

grand variety

Sweeps in smiles and tears, as I hold music close; savor its role in my family

To celebrate our history is to pause, reflect, remember to feel Creation’s magnificent rhapsody

I have learned; I know with absolute certainty

It lives in you; it lives in me.


Watch Cheryl recite the poem during UTO Family Town hall on February 11: