On this, Barbados‘ National Heroes’ Day, I was inspired to finish a poem I started a while back. David Commisong, one of our country’s most noted Pan-Africanists, was reading a selection of some of the poems from our most celebrated poet, Edward ‘Kamau’ Brathwaite. an internationally acclaimed poet laureate. The first stanza is actually a direct quote from Commisong’s presentation. He was saying that if he were to create a political manifesto for youth of this country, he would create one where they look back at their history, music, folklore – to teach them their heritage. This quote stuck with me and I built the poem around it. The day is half done already, but Happy National Heroes Day, Barbados!
We will give our people their heritage
We will speak in our own language
We will give our people our poems
We will sit under the ancestor’s tree
And glean from the elders
And we will grow
The soil of our future will be
Fertilized with the seed-stories from our past
Cast from the lips of our artists
Farmers tilling the ground of our
‘ Cause we cannot know where to go
Unless we are firmly rooted
In the lessons planted
By those whose hands are calloused
We will give the youth their history
In stories and songs and poetry
And once they know from whence they came
These little seeds with knowledge fed
Will grow into a mighty forest.
We will seek to edutain
Impart knowledge while they are laughing
Or while in stunned silence
At the profoundity of our literary prowess.
They will be fed
With the dexterity of a parent
Distracting a child with a wiggling toy
While slipping medicine unsuspecting
And we will look back toward the great cloud of witnesses
Our ancestral audience
And we will feel their appreciation
That their legacy lives on.
(Photo taken by I Tek Dat Photo (http://www.facebook.com/TekDatPhoto)