I wrote a poem I would like to share with you.
The inspiration of this poem is being so totally frustrated by my
family as I am researching my family history and getting resistance
at every turn. Looking at pictures of my grandfather--it is obvious
by his features that he is mixed. Yet, no one wants to admit it, let
alone talk about it! After a year of writing letters to strangers, I
finally found a long-lost cousin. I have talked to this cousin for 9
months before he finally told me that my family IS MIXED, and that we
are both African-American and Euro-American.
Which means that at least one female relative was raped while in
slavery, and had children from this assault (I have found this
ancestor). In addition, there are several more mixtures down the line-
-which no one wants to talk about, either. On top of that it seems
like the family has split down the color line, and chosen to
segregate themselves from each other. So instead of pulling my hair
out going bald in the process of frustration, hehe, I wrote a poem.
The Secret River
The multi-racial lineage of my family is but a whisper;
secretly we know its there
and secretly we deny its existence.
When you talk about 'mixed',
our memories turn to the obvious reminders
the relatives with the lighter skin or the straighter hair.
Of course, they are mixed, what else is there to say?
Underneath the rumble of our voices,
and the turn of our smiles,
is the secret river of our bloodline,
carrying not only genes but a hidden shame.
So we don't look that far back in our past,
don't ask questions,
and turn our eyes away from the obvious.
It is much safer to be black.
Black is a color that blots out any stain,
awash in darkness our feelings are numb.
Fumbling through the darkness,
we find each other, we always have.
We love our blackness because they once hated us,
from their hatred we came together as a family,
loving our dark skin, curly hair and midnight eyes.
We love our black babies,
bestowing our dreams upon our children
of them all, the strongest is a wish,
a need to break free from the past.
So we moved forward by embracing the black
that blotted out all painful memories.
Our children are the most visible reminders
so through their blackness,
we sought to remove from ourselves
the most painful reminder of our humiliation.
We worked and fought to create
our own place in the world
a unique vision of what it meant to be black.
Woven within that vision were the traditions
passed down in our memories, beliefs, family recipes.
And yet, we could not escape
the secret river that rose through our veins,
washing the black
with something strikingly different.
© All Rights Reserved.
The poem entitled, 'The Secret River'
is the © copyright work of it's author
(`Lynn' of http://profiles.yahoo.com/graceofwynn)
and thus, all of the general copyright (c) standards
are fully acknowledged within this publication.)