Saturday, 12 November 2011

More thoughts on Bunce Island

There is a distance present in the crumbling of castles
Stones fallen to the ground
Half fallen buildings covered in vegetation
A vague beauty in the unknown
Beneath the curtain of green and growing things
There lie the bones of what once was mighty
The bones that dealt a crushing blow to far too many people.
A silence lies so deep and strong your ears ring
And in the silence your hear the echoes of a thousand moans
The pain, despair, fear, agony that soaked into the foundations

Disconnect is easy when you stare at fallen buildings
It's the stories that are told that bring the place to life
Here is where they kept them for three days with no food or water.
Tiny doorway, steep slope, no light, no sun, no windows,
Damp and cold, small stone room
Fear is real in this room. 
Bats shriek overhead, I can almost imagine how it might have been
in this space, cramped with frightened starving people.
Almost.  And yet, I don't want to.

Another building, another story,
Branding all the slaves. 
Sorting by gender.
Left to wait to be chosen.
Is chosen to sail as a slave any better or worse
Than being left in a room to await your fate?

This building was the last one they went through on the way to the ship.
It's not a gateway. 
Just another stone building.
Falling apart,
Here where the iron is placed around necks and ankles.
Here where they leave the continent for the last time.
Leave behind all they've ever known,
Unwilling immigrants,
With no way back,
and no idea how to return, even if they could go back.
Families left to mourn their unknown fate.

Graveyard as a final stop.
Some issues are black and white.
How many souls lie here
Why does this place affect me more than the buildings?
Here it is obvious. 
Here I see the dividing line.
The carefully carved stones on one side
The meadow on the other. 

How God must weep
over the choices of his people
If only we were good at learning from the past.
If only examples like this made things change.
If only slavery was a thing of the past.

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