Ancestry

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A poem from my Hardship collection, unpublished.

He struggled to the foot of his Ascension Hill,

to marvel at the path his ancestors

beat, with sticks and paddle-boats

 

to get here. They were black but now white,

the path his grandparents,

still black, trod to get here;

 

the same path some like them still walk

like the plank, for richer

pickings? If only they heed

 

the voices that draw pictures of hardship,

of hands that never quite

reach the sky, of despair,

 

loneliness and hatred, and of the fear

that makes walk only the

small hours like a hermit.

 

The same voices he sees now hovering over

the path, waiting to mock

with shouts of ‘I told you…

 

I told you not to come here’;

the voices of worker bees,

beaten but unable to go back home;

 

the voices of those as still

as death, bitter, desperate,

as opportunities slip pass them like eel;

 

the voices of those who carry the scars

of a parent’s anguish, for

a child taken before its time;

 

voices like my own, that poke and niggle,

niggle and poke about my lot

still at the foot of this hill.  

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