Letter to the free
from the souls that hung from the tree,
that sung to the heed
of those that breathe on their knees,
from those picked cotton and tea
and fought to release those who ought to be free;
Distinguished free folk,
Against those who sought to impede
our sort and brothers in need,
we have fought and died indeed.
We, roots of crop made by generations of field neggas ask this:
What fruit have you bore?
I had no reply
I had given my black for white,
as though I exchanged the dark for light.
They told me “black must be made white; white is the only beautiful”
They asked me “how can you remain dark and expect to be viewed equal
so listen, accept and be dutiful.”
Hence, I conceded deficiency in myself,
traded my freedom to become their help,
gave up myself to acquire their wealth,
and adorned their pelt to define myself.
Now all that remains is wilting
in the name of modernity, of progress, of growth.
And how will this tree grow without roots?
how will any tree grow, without roots?
©āb.rantipā, first published in ‘to grow in two bodies’.
āb.rantipā (pronounced “abran-ti-pa”, a twi word which translates as ‘fine gentleman’ is a contemporary Ghanaian writer/poet/spoken word artist resident in Accra-Ghana who loves chocolate, art and art history.