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‘Sea of Souls’

This poem is dedicated to the Souls of the Sea. To our (African) ancestors who lost their lives during the Transatlantic slave trade and to those who survived, but lives were permanently altered on those ships.

Sea of Souls

African souls remold as the past unfolds, transforming from dust to gold.

Arriving on shores not quite sure on what they are about to endure.

Spiritual warfare arises.

Unsettling settlers, patronizing as their motives become crystal clear.

Surrounded by wickedness and gust of sins.

Sculling the waters, finding skulls of our beloved Mothers and Fathers.

Capitalist gains through our pain.

Centuries and centuries of tears but remembering that “when roots are deep, there is no need to fear the wind.”

This too shall pass and the seas tell our true tales.

The courage to prevail even though our purpose was purposely derailed.

We continue to sail, no longer for sale, moving forward and pushing through deep and dangerous waters.

Fearless, determined to become the life jackets for our Sons and Daughters.

The waves fail to keep us down or drown us because we are the ocean, constantly in motion and everywhere.

The African Diaspora is a force of nature and our presence is mighty.

So today we rejoice in the rebirth of us.

The sorrow ship has sailed.

We refuse to be consumed by agony and suffering.

We shout about and give honor to our lineage.

The golden ones!

The chosen ones!

We cherish the day liberation arrived at the Island city on the gulf coast of Texas.

Annually, throughout 57,670 days, we carry on their names.

We play traditional games.

And hum the hymns Grandmama used to sang.

“Wade in the water.”

We laugh at folktales that Grandpa always told so well.

Auntie yells, “Soul train line”

We dance.

We “Electric Slide,” “Wobble,” and “Cupid Shuffle.”

Kids hit the “Griddy.”

And we drink soda pop as Uncle pop locks.

We eat all kinds of treats, seasoned meats, or seasoned greens.

All in honor of Juneteenth!

We break chains and cycles.

Constantly evolving.

We recite poems, proverbs, lyrics, and sermons.

We perform.

We provide an abundance of services.

We educate.

We visit historical places.

We have sunny & gloomy debates.

We celebrate.

We praise & give thanks.

Maze and Frankie Beverly on repeat.

Before I let go,

I must say, all the Sistas look like Miss Juneteenth, real Queens.

Brothers sound and appear sharp, such Kings.

And we passionately sing.

“Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.”

Author’s note: Juneteenth is a time for unity and community. I hope everyone comes together to celebrate humanity. May we always acknowledge our (African) ancestors sacrifices and celebrate their bravery. 1865 marked the year that the USA embarked on “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Read Shanti Lair-Croom’s poems for Black History Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month, and stay up-to-date with her work on Instagram.

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