Maroons of the Lagoon

faced with the tyranny of enslavement

some people fled North

others further South

some walked Across the Atlantic

rather than live under the heels of devils

still some scanned the clouds

locked onto the mountain tops

carved out hidden trails

endured pilgrimage, became

free people of the caverns, reborn of the swamps…

 

break liberty’s bell

she cries out

keep running,

running

they’re gaining on us

won’t let them take you

from now on

us be free

 

in flight from Babylon

evergreen thistle carries choral response

one with rugged earth

who holds us in her bosom

muck camouflages worlds in the refuse

sister cedar and brother brush

tug at our clothes

this is the way

march like ants through rotten logs

strong and defiant

wade my children

Raphael troubles these briny waters

quickens wearied bodies

emerge cleansed and renewed

 

look upon glory

ray brushed skin, shadow cloaked bodies of

warriors, mothers, lovers, comrades in battle,

carved but not gouged, seared but not incinerated,

swamp-footed, worn and alive

camped ‘round a cave dwelling whittled out of stormy rock

brittle chips flaked from steely plates, this shelter

far from sugarcane fields,

uniform rows cut back and sheared

rain still trickles into hand-weaved leaf basins

sun still shines on us

 

we rise up

every morning

we toil

fortify our home

our surroundings grow wild

we with it

we learned

how to distill salt from drink

savor honeycomb nectar

chestnut grins and wrinkled noses

sing stories of near capture, great escape

hang time dwindles, raindrops shatter

we glass eaters

drippy cave water, work water washing anew

hands toiling for their own reward

brothers and sisters in chains now brothers and sisters in freedom

we build our own world

drumming

calling out for ancestral guidance

how we make it here

at night we watch the stars

light the way above the bush

we here

we survive

 

pulsating stars synchronize with a cosmic heartbeat

unchainable and unbroken

we remain standing

stripped to the bone

reassembled

tree trunk refusing to release the metal that met wood

cradled on each other’s chests like babes seeking mother’s milk

hunger never felt so full

our armory stocked with love and resilience

we are the resistance

retreat and reprieve

ain’t a one who gon stop we

we finding ourselves

 

During Black History Month, this blog will honor people who demonstrated critical elements of the Black / African experience with commemorative poems. This poem gives tribute to the Maroons, enslaved Africans who escaped to wilderness areas during the plantation regime. In fact, the blog is named and exists in honor of the spirit of these corageous freedom-seekers. This marks the first poem of a month-long series.

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