American Sonnet (10)

after Lowell


our mothers wrung hell and hardtack from row
and boll. fenced others'
gardens with bones of lovers. embarking
from Africa in chains
reluctant pilgrims stolen by Jehovah's light
planted here the bitter
seed of blight and here eternal torches mark
the shame of Moloch's mansions
built in slavery's name. our hungered eyes
do see/refuse the dark
illuminate the blood-soaked steps of each
historic gain. a yearning
yearning to avenge the raping of the womb
from which we spring

by Wanda Coleman

Comments (1)

Ably written, but the matter is troubling. It invokes the conventional slavery guilt-trip but I wonder. Isn't this mock tragic as long as you are perfectly free to return to Africa? That is, now that the world's arteries ready do flow, immigration is still steadily in the same direction? Something is missing in the old paradigm.