Routes To My Roots

Almost like the quadrants in school playgrounds, the four seasons, financial quarters, and the solstices and equinox that mark the time to sow, to tend, to harvest, the poetry I write in what some would call the ‘fullness of my maturity’ became a road map – the Routes To My Roots.

I wrote to the pulsing beats and rhythms of black inspirations, I listened to the deep bass that pounded eardrums and souls, I witnessed the post colonial awakenings, urban uprisings, and a personal black consciousness epiphany. At work and play I sought out the rhymes and reasons that would help to heal and tend the wounds of the savage history inflicted on black people by many nations, without human cause.

I am still evolving, so the words and then images kept coming. The transition wasn’t that smooth or easy, but I made it, a leap beyond faith in order to touch base with reality, and stay there.

From 1979 to date, I write songs and poems that seek out truth and challenge the black-white-grey status quo. ‘Mama Cry Mama Cry’ is of one my favourites, this piece started out as a series of recollections whilst thinking about my late mother, and then to a higher level of recollections when I drifted into thoughts about Mother Earth, the poem became a song, the song became a tribute, and the tribute has become an anthem.

Mama Cry, Mama Cry

Mama cry mama cry
Mama cry living eye water from her eyes
mama cry so ‘til she no have no more
eye water to cry, mama cry.

Things was really hard living on an island
then came a man in a shirt and tie
from the mainland.
Saying ‘free education
in our modern civilisation
good working conditions for all
high wages unlikely to fall
all you got to do is give us your labour
get on a boat a plane a train
and come on over’

Mama leave mama leave
mama leave the little island in the sun
mama leave and say she soon send for the youth
and let them come, mama leave.

Yes labour was what they wanted
slaving on the mainland.
Rushing like a russian through the concrete
mama was missing the beach and the sand.
Feeling the cold of ice and snow
smelling the paraffin fire glow,
mama recall granma mention plantation
then she find herself in the same situation,
all she could do is send for the children
the few shilling she save must can educate them.

Mama send mama send
mama send for the youths to make them get wise
mama send for the youths she borrow she lend
from friend and friend, mama send.

But things was getting worse
when the youths reach the mainland,
the natives get worried and started to curse
people from the island.
It’s true they did get some schooling
yet still the teachers was only fooling,
feeding the youth a history full of lies
with mind control they tried to hypnotise.
Some loose through they choose to play the game
some win through they know that all is the same.

Mama why mama why
mama why so suffer so much when you try
mama why should I give and live like a fool
when I know that you cry.

mama why – mama cry
mama try – mama sigh
then she say
‘children never you believe a lie
always look your friends in the eye
and remember
try to remember
always remember
mama cry, mama cry’.

Cynthia Antoinette Roomes ©
The book, songs, and poetry from Routes To My Roots will be published soon, keep in touch and sign up for my newsletter to make sure you keep up to date. In the mean time feel free to check out the images from ‘A Woman’s Journey’ – selected from my book ‘Evolution – a collection of paintings and prose’, the artwork sums up as much as poetic words can convey.

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