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I am of Maroon extraction, dear
My grandmother's grandfather fought
Without surrender or tanant of fear
And two times with Boukman caught
And twice unlike him escaped
To die in a rocky cliff, proudly brave
While the freed slave escaped
He held the pass alone unto his grave.
But my grandmother, mixed his blood
Gave me a half German grandfather, good!
At evening when oral tongues tattle truth
These stories were the pomegranate
Juice that fed the worthiness of ragged youth.
My father from aboriginal state
Rose and span his flight from teacher
To banker's clerk, and then to police
Against the national disorder of labor
Hankering for a new identity of peace.
He found his, a veterinarian, at last
But for his broken wing there was no cast
To compensate, he dreamed of children
Into whom all his resources were poured
Rising to the top of government, send
Them to colleges far away, they bored
With the magic of his island never returned.
And I, he died when I was fourteen
Before he carved me from ash for his urn
Dote on his past like a child unweened,
While suckling from the simplicity of mother
Whose clothes on the line reeked of heather.
O but mother too, was only half of Africa
And yet despite the latent Spanish in her
I am your ebon tree, your chocolate or sepia
And when I dream there in the unblur
Stands my ancient, my vast begining, pride
Like a Serengeti from Ashanti to Zulu lure
O this child has many kings in his inside
And yet no kingdom did I claim but the bush
That surrounds my Canterbury with its hush
And the braod pastures on Knoxwood's plain
O to reign there in childhood still
Running in and out with swallows in the rain
To eat the pulp of fruit from every hill
That balmed me I was bruised. Too harsh
Were schools for the vision in my skin
My teachers were lilacs, things in the marsh
My student eyes eclipsed by the fins, things
Still bright, or a sudden gasp of wings.
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