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Updated on February 24, 2013
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In Memory of My Great, Great, Great Grandma

This is a poem in memory of my grandmother's great grandmother, that is my great, great, great grandmother who was an enslaved woman of West African heritage during the late 1700 and early 1800s. This poem is dedicated to her memory and life, a life that was regarded as lower than a cow or a horse; a life in which she was treated not like a person but like a chattel, a thing to be bought and sold. Yet despite of the dehumanization that she encountered, she was a worrior, a determined spirit, one that could not be completely broken by slavery. She was a person, a woman and was determined to let it be known. Although I never met her I salute her strength and fortitude and I thank her for suffering not only for me but for all the women and men of colour and all women who have been and continue to be treated in discriminatory ways, the women who are continually abused and disrespected, the women who find the courage and confidence to fight back against their oppression even in ways unrecognized.

I introduce to you the circumstances (aution block, ardous labour & brutality), the thoughts, feelings and emotions of an enslaved woman who begot six generations of women. I hope you find her strength inspiring.


There she stands regal and majestic; African queen for all to see

Scantily attired, her vulnerability is revealed; Majestic always will be

Oppressed and repressed yet deep in her belly the fires of resilience burn

And you are scalded by her fury, her strength and her sexuality you yearn

Gawkers, prodders, gropers your curiosity to satisfy; her body your pawn

Stoic she stares, eyes full of determination; she’s nobody’s lawn

You may sell her body but you can’t sell her soul and mind; she won’t let you.

Shackled, bounded and brow-beaten into submission; so you thought

But you cannot control the fire within; your vile game is everything and naught

Beast of burden, promiscuous and ugly; yet her body is ripe for your ravage

In her eyes you see yourself and your deepest fear is you’re the savage

Raped, tortured, overworked and despised you take all that she’s got

But there is more than your bloody hands can take; your doormat she’s not

Bottomless pit of strength, fortitude and grace; despite your fear and hate.

Traded like live-stock on the auction block; she will not wallow in your pen

Her future always uncertain and unsure; yet her way forward she guards like a hen

Her value set by those who exploit her body; but her soul and spirit you can’t control

Her mind is her own; so against your vices and schemes she leads the patrol

She’s not seen for her intellectual, beauty or humanity; but watch out she’s got a mind

You see her as a chattel, a thing, a possession to own and trade; but she’s no-one’s find

Exploited, beaten, molested, broken into obedience; yet she’s indifferent and ready for a challenge.

Stripped naked, flogged, whipped and humiliated; her vulnerability to all exposed

Her body bears the marks of your brutality; your recklessness and vile imposed

Sick, weakened, fatigued and exhausted yet she finds the strength to persevere

Treated like an animal or a piece of machinery; her body and thought you domineer

She detest your presence and wished you extinct; your essence as bitter as gall

Imposed on and oppressed by your civilization, your God, your laws; but Babylon must fall

You tyrannical savage possessing no conscience, no heart, no empathy, no humanity.

Copyright: Feb 21, 2013



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    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Krillco, thanks for your kind comment. Poetry is not easy to do, so I appreciate your complement. Sometimes expressing one's feelings and thoughts in prose-like poetry can open the heart and expose the hurt of past generations.

      Thanks for your visit.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks for your comment Anna. This is my effort to reclaim some of our unsung heroines; those who are too ordinary to be written about; those whose lives are so mundane that they are overlooked for those who are deemed more relevant to the public gaze. So kudos to all the unheard, un recognized and unknown heroines!

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 

      5 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      I don't usually read poetry on here, but yours being introduced with some history hooked me. Thanks for the great prose, it is powerful.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      A tribute to a beautiful soul which couldn't be owned or broken, thankyou for the opportunity to read of such an inspirational lady, it moved me .

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