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The Ancestral Witness

Poem by Greg Powell The Ancestral Witness for the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act being passed
The Ancestral Witness

Chains broken
By death and being
Born again: I hear them,
Momma and Daddy, Big
Ma V and them, all
Way back to cotton fields,
And charred bloody trees,
They speak in psalms,
Lyrical rituals from on high,
Prophetic whispers in ill winds,
Saying these ain’t the last days.
We bear witness in groaning chants
And holy shouts of saints,
To scarred hearts and broken hands
That snapped chains and struck blows
For us. We bear witness to hold
Your heads high, children, where
You see in the dark, glowing depths
Of someday dawn horizon. For we
Been through worse. Children,
We been through worse. Lord knows,
We been through worse.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy "Proclamation Emancipation."