Bringing it all back Home


Here I lie. A hollow
Samboo. Filled with your tears

and regrets. The tick in the eye
of Lancaster Pride. The stutter,

the pause, the dry cough, shifting
eyes, that cannot meet a Black man?s

gaze. Questions, questions from either
side that foul us for answers. The how

and the why ultimately defeating us
with shame, with anger, with the defensive

voices of those who lived and enjoyed
the benefits, who did not question too

deeply the source that enriched
all of Lancaster life.

Who will heal and elevate to light
the souls of your ancestors if

you refuse to remember? If you
cover their incarnations with half-truths?

Grocer? You were a Slave Trader!
And everything has its price,

and denial is only debt
with interest to be paid.

Note. Grocer was a contemporary Lancaster misnomer for those involved in the buying and selling of goods from the so-called ‘west indies trade’, the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

from ship shape (Peepal Tree Press, 2008), © Dorothea Smartt 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Dorothea Smartt in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.