Recently, I’ve been writing about things that everyday people can relate to and I been neglecting my love for history. So, I decided to write this one.
I wrote this poem after seeing a post by actress Rosario Dawson (Daredevil) on Twitter. She’s someone I respect very much as an artist, but also as a human being in her online presence (I do not know her myself!).
And it’s holidays like this that truly show that history is written by the victors. People like Christopher Columbus are celebrated because they happen to be on the right side of history.
To most in America, Thanksgiving means family time and something positive. To the Native Americans, it means something else entirely.
— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) November 22, 2017
Aside from the subject matter at hand, this poem is based on Widow by Sylvia Plath. She was an American poet, novelist and short storyteller and was married to former-poet laureate Ted Hughes. She only ever wrote one novel, The Bell Jar.
My poem gets its title from the eighth Poldark novel by English author, the late Winston Graham.
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Chris Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
The world’s first terrorist.
The name sends shivers…
Christopher. The glorified pirate –
his praises printed in books of history.
A horrible history. Where many stories
lie, not just the blueprints of Empire.
He was the first Final Solution.
Native America’s Auschwitz.
Turkey and white pilgrims.
Genocide – Sadness – Funeral.
Thanksgiving. A bitter spider crawls
down the long table.
Feasting on death and delights.
Lies and deception are its clothes.
Columbus: “this big, vacant land”.
The voice of a coloniser, full of ice.
Where the Natives lived, as did the
Caribs and Arawaks. He didn’t think twice.
I read. The tattooed trees bend in – the
trunk of patriotism. The fluttering leaves.
Strong and sturdy like the crag of Rushmore
or even the stone-chaired Republican in D.C.
Four faces on mountain peak looking at
a free, white, middle-upper spoke.
Not the slaves. Not the Natives. Not the poor.
A graveyard nation, evasive as smoke.
Blind to all, but the bones under the
land, as these united states celebrate.