The one thing I love about poetry is that when it’s good, it makes you feel the emotions behind the words as if they were your own. And I just finished reading a book that did just that.
Written by award winning author, CP Patrick, Dear Ancestors is a powerful ode to our ancestors from the lenses of our current experiences today as their descendants. This revolutionary collection of poetry takes us on journey through the African diaspora, exploring the plight, power and perseverance of our ancestors.
I know many of us already know this history, but its one thing to know it; and something totally different to feel it. And that’s what CP Patrick accomplishes for us in this book. She makes you feel the journey of our ancestors as well as our own.
when your feet were forced
your walk more stumbles than steps
and you smelled salt in the air
the first time
you went aboard the slave ship
branded with hot iron
did you know
the fight in your blood
would live for generations.
With every other poem, I found myself nodding and pausing to reflect. Something about her words. Something about her descriptions of our ancestors’ experiences moved me.
my skin brown
yo skin white
we was friends
till i turned three
then i serve you
and you owned me.
Her words have of way of drawing you closer to your ancestors. Their pain. Their emotions. Their struggle. Their triumph. Their fight. Their love. Something that many of us have lost a connection to, and something we need now more than ever to return to. A relationship with our ancestors.
some people say
i would have never been a slave
becuase your ancestors are watching you
live in bondage.
For years I’ve been saying through my own writings how many of us are still enslaved mentally, but I don’t think I considered that our ancestors felt the same. So the poem above really stood out to me. But the rest of the books is just as hard-hitting.
The shortest verse of the book displays the author’s largest message:
you were not sent here to be free
so why do you continue to ask.
Of course not all black folks came here as slaves. Some of our ancestors migrated here thousands of years prior. But the results were still the same—bondage. And the residue of slavery still lingers among us today, constantly reminding us of our ancestor’s resilience.
Dear Ancestors pays homage to our ancestors while inspiring us to do the same. With so many writers today watering down their words for a mass appeal, I truly appreciate CP Patrick for writing a book specifically for us. So if you like poetry and you’re looking for a good read, I suggest you check out Dear Ancestors.