OYOLU NGOZI HELEN For She Who Thought Me The Word "Sheros" continued from previous page
My fathers, they saw themselves as less,
And know that they were.
That was yesterday,
And now, there is today,
And now, there is me.
I believe, I feel, and I am sure of who I am-
I am the reasons for the tears and unending pain,
I am the end and I am the gain.
I have inherited an heirloom, magnificent and fine,
Crafted of exquisite pain, intricately woven with silken threads of shame,
Streams of blood, rivers of sweat-
I am product of every time white man and slave met
-I am the child conceived and borne of every rape,
I am the scar left of each wound
Of every lash dependent solely on massas mood.
I have always known that I was black
I only have just discovered that I am strong.
I always knew that I had a rich past, a history proud,
Only now do I see that I also own a future sound.
The pain is past and I am beyond the tears,
Ages of night have dawned into morning years.
The bitterness of hate, the sadness of self-doubt,
Is now become the peace of the release.
The realization that the giving of forgiveness is not my burden,
For the slaves are long dead-tired from their
Battle for freedom and weakened by their victory.
No burden remains,
Only a battle.
To be fought with my own self,
In my own mind,
Within my own spirit.
I must convince them that they too are free,
That they too are able, that they too are strong
That they are my own, that they are.
A battle which will be lost if by its end I have not learned that I am black,
But before that,
Ever before that,
That I am me.