Colour My Soul - Poem by Frank Bana
Colour me brown, next time around
To understand the pain of hearts
Measured by shadows in rooms of caste
To know the name of the goddess
And to touch her face, my soul
Lullabied by the holy river
Tasting the fruits of indentured labour
And trees planted in the sugar fields.
Bring me back as someone black
So none mistake me again for pale
Sufficient pitch to be collared for ships
To taste the lash - and if I survive
Forced to fight the Confederate side
Longing to cross each battle to join
The slow liberation of the North.
To be female, a spirited girl
Taught my honour and self-defence
How to take his blows of rage
And wake up like an untouched stone
To wear chador, or wrap sari
Flirting with hope, teasing destiny
Smiling for friends and relatives.
Make me anew, the kind of Jew
Who draws his skill from the ducts of wells
That glint with ancient tears and truth
Rooted early by the sacred texts
Forced into study and argument
Under a saucerous black hat
Heavy locks and gaberdine
The kind of Jew I could have been
Enjoined to recite and sway
And wear night colours in the day.
Now tell me if it's not too late
To see the face of goddesses
Give me devotions, sacred names
So I may serve as my fathers did.
Smear with hues my fugitive soul
Dark enough for divine hands.
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