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Mi Patwa a Tan Ya (Jamaican Poem)

by Joy McLean
(Jamaica )

They called you broken
When you were perfect
Well-formed and complete
They scorned your heritage
Because you were Black
And represented the poor
Who were fragmented in mind and spirit

They called you useless
When you had the potential
To create wealth for those who desired it
But did not need to flaunt it
By being other people
Because you were the identity
Of the outcasts, they had branded with scorn

They called you interference
When you were native to the land
The soul of the people, their voice
They pretended you were invisible
While cursing the impact of your presence
On a stranger’s imposition that was praised
For its entry and displacement of you
But only for a fleeting while…

They call you stubborn
Because they cannot exterminate you
Neither sleight nor lingering spite
Can banish nor suppress you
Your unyielding presence now unveiled to your haters
Echoes from the past and voices in the present
Affirm you as the ambassador of this land.

©2021 Joy McLean

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