Explore Poems GO!

The Idea Of Ancestry

Rating: 3.4
Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews.They stare
across the space at me sprawling on my bunk.I know
their dark eyes, they know mine.I know their style,
they know mine.I am all of them, they are all of me;
they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.

I have at one time or another been in love with my mother,
1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum),
Read More
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
COMMENTS
* Sunprincess * 13 January 2017
...thanks to poets.org, I found the second half of the poem -Each fall the graves of my grandfathers call me, the brown hills and red gullies of mississippi send out their electric messages, galvanizing my genes. Last yr/like a salmon quitting the cold ocean-leaping and bucking up his birth stream/I hitchhiked my way from LA with 16 caps in my pocket and a monkey on my back. And I almost kicked it with the kinfolks. I walked barefooted in my grandmother’s backyard/I smelled the old land and the woods/I sipped cornwhiskey from fruit jars with the men/ I flirted with the women/I had a ball till the caps ran out and my habit came down. That night I looked at my grandmother and split/my guts were screaming for junk/but I was almost contented/I had almost caught up with me. (The next day in Memphis I cracked a croaker’s crib for a fix.) This yr there is a gray stone wall damming my stream, and when the falling leaves stir my genes, I pace my cell or flop on my bunk and stare at 47 black faces across the space. I am all of them, they are all of me, I am me, they are thee, and I have no children to float in the space between.-
1 0 Reply
* Sunprincess * 13 January 2017
....indeed excellent poetry of family ties ? 'I am all of them, they are all of me' a wonderful line which takes us deep into the ancestry tree
0 0 Reply
Dutendra Chamling 15 November 2015
...I know their dark eyes, they know mine.I know their style, they know mine.I am all of them, they are all of me; they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee... Beautiful.
0 0 Reply
Verter Mcdougald 25 August 2015
I can really feel this poem deep in my soul. I understand it on so many levels. I love it. Absolutely great work.
0 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 25 August 2015
Nice work with the muse of your family tree.
3 1 Reply
Ramesh T A 25 August 2015
Another poem on ghost of elders depicted with awesome effect in this poem!
3 0 Reply
Curtis Johnson 25 August 2015
Etheridge, I enjoyed reading your poem. The 47 faces on the wall, your 7 year old niece, and your 93 year old grandmother. I must say that these are your treasures, to be held close to your heart. Never let them fade, grow apart, or forget you. They are God's gifts to you.
1 0 Reply
Kim Barney 25 August 2015
Curtis, you are talking to someone who died in 1991!
0 0 Reply
Kim Barney 25 August 2015
M Hinton says the poem is actually twice as long as appears here. Why does PH do that to us? This was a fascinating poem until it stopped abruptly. I could certainly have read more of it.
2 0 Reply
M Hinton 24 January 2005
FYI: This poem is actually twice as long as appears here.
4 1 Reply

Delivering Poems Around The World

Poems are the property of their respective owners. All information has been reproduced here for educational and informational purposes to benefit site visitors, and is provided at no charge...

5/8/2021 7:19:55 AM # 1.0.0.577