Editor’s Note: The following poem by Gazette contributor Harry Seymour will be read at a ceremony on July 27 at Memorial Wharf in Edgartown, when the Martha’s Vineyard African American Heritage Trail will dedicate a new site on the Underground Railroad Network. The ceremony is at 3 p.m. A reception will follow at Rosewater Market.

Esther, Fugitive Slave

Known simply as Esther
A runaway slave in 1743
Sought to be free
By riding the “freedom train”
Where fantasy meets reality
Of a Harriet Tubman dream
Our “Moses” she was called
By fugitive slaves
“Cargo” on her train
Northern bound
As far off as Edgartown
Place of Esther’s escape
Guided by Abolitionists
Disguised as conductors
Whose lives also at risk
For aiding and abetting
All Esthers fleeing by foot
In the dark of night
As invisible as mist
Evaporating in morning dew
These unseen ghosts aboard
The Underground Railroad
An everlasting powerful symbol
In need of reincarnation
For descendants of slaves
No longer running and hiding
To imaginary phantom stations
With destinations uncertain
Not north, south, east or west
But to the nation intended
As land of the free
Where “wheels keep on churning”
To the heartbeat of freedom
And to the conductor’s call
All aboard.