|Althea Romeo-Mark, Liberia 1978|
Sentiments of A Time
Before I became who I am,
and journeyed to Liberia
before I had children,
at a time when Vietnam boiled and burned,
and napalm was dropped on the innocent
during another senseless war,
at a time when bereted Black Panthers
swore to defend each Black soul,
and Black was declared beautiful,
when the Nigerian Biafran War raged
and apartheid caught our attention,
and students howled against academic authority,
a friend declared it was not the moment
to bring children into a world so vile,
he would not produce any progeny.
Did he allow despair to dictate his future?
I now wonder forty odd years later.
Did he allow the world’s abominable state
to deprive him of his jewels?
Did the dividends of his sacrifice
pay off in a humane revolution?
Many today say the same.
I have learned that Man
has always been hell-bent.
The children I would not have had,
had I followed his wisdom
are now thirty-plus and
are bearing the next generation.
© Althea Romeo-Mark 08.12.15
|Photo from Florida State University|
Goats and Sheep 1970s
We set out to make the world right.
Our thoughts in the thrust of revolutions,
we join the cauldron of emotions.
Convinced we can change the world,
we march, are pushed along in a throng,
placards in hands, afroed and long-haired,
freshly schooled in the injustices of apartheid,
the fire that is Vietnam, the rebellion of Biafrans.
Some, empowered by the will to rein in all that is evil ,
volunteer in communities, attempt to bring fairness
and equality to the poor, evolve into leaders.
Others overrun by the life’s demands,
bend to its will, pass on the baton of righteousness
to the next generation.
© Althea Romeo-Mark June 2009
Let us be Eve
and search our groves
woods and forests
for leaves large enough
to cover us head to toe
with fronds of palm, coconut,
leaves of banana, fig,
elephant ear and foxglove.
No need for sewing needles.
Vines are long and sturdy enough
to pass through holes,
to wrap round skirts and tops,
tie hats under chins and
hold woven palm slippers
on our feet.
We need not make patterns.
Leaves are ornamented by nature.
The endless choice of
hue, design and uniqueness,
the only cause of delay.
Adam will find us irresistible.
The Snake would admire
Jealousy though will still
seal our fate.
Temptation will lead us
away from Eden’s Garden.
© Althea Romeo-Mark 2016
We, the salt and earth of the Caribbean,
children of new world contradictions,
carry African traditions like a secret child.
They are our Moses
hidden in the basket of bones and blood,
set adrift in our memory.
Ancestral spirits keep watch
as we sail down the river of time,
Althea Romeo-Mark 2016
Rainy Season Ride
The road now a river after a flood
we are driven through uncertain terrain.
We grip the shoulders of bus seats.
We are rocked, entrails rattled.
The bus becomes a raging bull we are sitting on
in a rodeo ride of life and death.
Breath held in suspense,
it is only in the moment that we live.
The vehicle is a tired animal
climbing out of a rampaging river
dragging us into the underworld.
We do not complain
about wet shoes and clothes
after near drowning.
Some, too numb,
cannot find their voice.
We cross ourselves,
praise God for the gift of life.
© Althea Romeo-Mark 2016
The beady eyes in the preserved head
and the bushy tail had put me off at first.
They dress the collar of the classy coat.
But the dummy wears it well,
invites me to caress its finery.
I shut out visions of animals
trapped or clubbed to death,
to create the masterpiece.
Slipping it on, mustiness and mothball scent
fill my nose and I hear voices speak:
the white-gloved, old woman,
the heiress unwilling to be ambushed by PETA,*
the call-girl, with crow’s feet,
who pawned the mink to pay the rent,
the prostitute who had hocked it,
when given to her by a pimp.
The bell, announcing the arrival
of a new customer to the thrift shop
could not break the spell…
© Althea Romeo-Mark 2005
*PETA –People For the Ethical Treatment of Animal
is not an easy one.
It has been sanctioned by nature.
The running away of youth with time,
the distancing with decades tainted by folly
and growing pain, were destined.
is hard and heavy.
Restless youth estranges itself
from settled age.
There is no turning back.
© 29.04.2014 Althea Romeo-Mark
*Uncoupling-new expression for the process of separation or impending divorce was coined by Gwyneth Palthrow and her husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay in 2014
I hope you enjoyed these poetic reflections on nature's and our natural evolution or sometimes our regression.