FOR MY ANCESTORS
Who from opulent lips
sang their slave songs from the bottom of hell,
their dirges and their ditties
their blues, their jubilees,
prayed their prayers nightly, daily—
humbly bending their knees to an unseen power
to release the shackles of their oppression,
lift the darkness of their despair.
Strong as posts and barbed wire tough,
they lent their strength to the years,
trudging through the treacherous valley
of half truths and entire lies
with tears of crystal rags,
longing for velvet soft days.
Their cries never reached the big fine palace
where the villains slept on canopied beds
of fine silk and frill, birthing future masters
to carry on the malevolent plot
for their sons and daughters to silently endure.
In the fields, under the pitiless blaze of the sun
where their breath came thick
and their soul in strips,
they mounted the light of hope,
waiting for miracles to rise
and mercies to descend,
daring to envision a better world
to fill the furrows in the sand of African beaches
from where their great greats were dragged,
bewailing, bloodied, and bruised.
Their bludgeoned dreams bled of a time
when their children's children could chase the stars,
learn behind ivy walls—
new voices to console the past,
a generation of swords among lions,
armed to strike down the mountains
that casted centuries old shadows
over a history cluttered with bones.
New warriors on fire, ambitions ablaze,
galvanized to shatter the darkness into a billion lights,
illuminating all people for generations and generations to come.
This poem won the 2012 Margaret
Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Author Myron L. Stokes received a $3,000 award. Winning Writers assists this contest. Copyright is reserved to the author.
About Myron L. Stokes
Myron is a Readjustment Counseling Therapist and works with combat veterans. He is also a USAF veteran who has been writing poetry and fiction with a passionate and dedicated purpose for twelve years. Myron has work published in Margie, International Journal of American Poetry 2005 and the Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize 2007. He has short stories that won honorable mentions in the Writer's Digest Literary Competition and the Lorian Hemingway Literary Competition. Myron lives in Oak Park, Illinois and expects to earn an MFA in Creative Writing in 2013.