Today I learnt of Edward Colstonís fate,
the statue posed with hand on chin
and one knee bent, as if the old man
the city his philanthropy
benefitted long ago,
knew his seat in history
would always be a golden throne.
Heís now been toppled in protest
of what brought in and broke his bread:
the legions of the stolen dead,
traded like meat, and salt, and lead.
The apologists, of course,
came out in flippancy,
arguing that ages pass
and make of crimes a frippery.
Why should we judge our grandfathers?
ĎIt was a different time.í
I think of when I watched TV
with my mother once
and learned Amazing Grace
was written by a slave trader, when he
became an abolitionist, brought
into enlightenment and empathy.
I cannot fathom all the pain of, say,
a child in a dark shipís hold,
except to argue that distance
must not be an excuse. To be told
that time evaporates all responsibility
is to look that child in the face
and sing Amazing Grace,
then leave him to
the darkness and the chains.