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A man's first right is to his own country:
That place by choice that was his father's hope
Before. His breathing make its history,
Its death is his shackles, his dream its scope.
This was the first discord jarring nature
When your hulls scraped the rock, unearthed us
And moved us backwards to the dark future.
Reparations demand you pay with trust

That Atlantic drank millions, you count
Them out forgotten still, but the land seared
By their absence brings sand from its green fount.
So many drums like rain have disappeared,
So many mothers and fathers died here
Crying, children withered to the dead roots
That have no fruit, no beginning to bear.
Reparations rage that we are mutes.

Here is the account, the sum of the cost:
When your industry was young awaken
Like a bear made hungry by the white frost -
The value of ships underwritten
By the idea of men as the first edge;
Before gold, or liquid currency rose
As security, the insurance pledge
For commerce was us; God your credit froze.

That lie was the foundation of commerce
And all traffic, we were commodity
Too, from ship's hull to cotton thrift and hearse;
From sugar blues to dead, stark poverty;
Out of us your fable babel rose. Ours
Then what was built by sweat and tears and blood
Our genius gave the marbled towers
Our culture now, the condemned trampled mud!

Close this account, and pay in full for trust
To mend the broken bonds that made us less
Than legal men. Reparations is just
As God himself, and seek yet no excess
But that from taxes in the west we're freed
And all our economies too forgiven
All debt, and all school and health be decreed
Free to our race, and house for our children.

We came not willingly, but these lands built
By the labor of our hands; this new world
Be states of Africa; nor any guilt
Be inculcated, and the stolen pearl
May know its rightful place again. We are
More than mere servants who gave civil means
To the world, better still than dust of star
This meet for reparation now convenes.
Reparations is the rights for new Africans
Embracing self, and empowered identity
Payments for utility and tribulations
Acceptance of our recovered humanity
Race and divisions subsides in perfidy
Africa's children worldwide love merchants again
Trafficking grace to heal the slanted infamy
Inviting you too meet us for ransome from pain
Overdue, this account must be paid: no taxation
No charge for health, debts of state, nor education.
Slaves no more! Let the shackles fall as evidence.
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Submitted on June 04, 2013

2:13 min read

David Smalling Claim this poet

I have been writing poems since I was 12 years; but writing had been my blanket for loneliness since age 11. My father died when I was 13 and poetry was my therapy for pain since then. Only I wanted the world to think, feel, laugh, but not cry. I had been forgotten in the grief of my father's death because everyone else needed the consolation I did not get. I became the even more the withdrawn loner, and saw a world more aggressively hostile. Books became my better friend and drove me deeper into academic seclusion. I wrote thousands of poems everywhere: on rocks, trees, sand, and all over house and school - this was how I interrogate the world, and how I weep alone. Poetry was my quest and comfort. I trusted paper and pen and spoke my truths to them above all else. Yes, I am graduate, a business major, a science major, an humanities major ... still searching for consolation, love, security, and joy obtained in poetry. Then again Jamaica is such an ideal place to live as a poet; the history and memories, juxtaposed against the world, is pure inspiration. more…

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    "Reparations" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 20 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/82974/reparations>.

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