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My Garifuna -> Gari-Cultural



C. J. Palacio

Two hundred and five years ago today,
Our forefathers set foot upon a sandy bay,
On the tiny island of Roatan off the coast
Of Honduras in Central American, in boats.
Indeed, they were British warships with cannons
On board to cow down anyone who thought of escaping.
Today, Punta Gorda holds evidence of their dim story,
Which lay hidden for years in some old, dusty book
Somewhere in a library, in England and France.
Spain, too, houses volumes unread, not perused.

A separation of some twelve hundred miles
Far away from St. Vincent with no log files
To show the numbers of detainees on Balliceaux
Before they were forcefully removed from home,
Their original homeland, except wild guesses.

St. Vincent of the Grenadines is now a vague memory
For the descendants of survivors, those who know not what agony
Their forebears endured on and after a thirty-one day journey,
A passage that wreaked havoc on women, children and men,
As they reflected on the last time they bade farewell, good-bye
To the only home they had ever known all their lives.
Children and women sobbed uncontrollably;
Tears streaked down their sad, horrified faces.
How sad! How devastating it must have been for the children!

Do we rejoice or do we morn the plight of our brave forebears?
We know they must have been relieved to get off the warships.
We know they must have been relieved that war was over.
They must have experienced subdued joy knowing
That they were free to live their lives once more
On their own terms in some semblance of peace.

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