On Writing

Poem 39 – Willow Grove, New Brunswick, 1815

Willow Grove, New Brunswick, 1815
For Alexander Diggs

Arriving is a physical 
& mental biting down
a swallowing of exhaustion
stretched out over time    skin
but dignity is leading
a leather strap in these
hands that are crusted 
with racism hatred slavery
grasped in the victory of
this coming into home

In the river wash these hands
but hold what seeped in 
wisdom protest song
the right to exist freely
though what’s right
shifts like quick sand

Here in 1815 the land
is rocky & small filled 
with strings attached
to white lies      relentless

Here with my family
beyond miracles
on the other side
in the devastating 
beginnings of hope-tilled
survival

This body stolen bound dragged
can and does and will endure
this heart plants seeds in tomorrows
so todays can sleep – this heart
flayed is colossal    crowned

Weeping souls grow stronger
can’t own can’t fish can’t vote
contractions birth premature 
pain & change is a plight
prescribed by prejudice –
stunted growth is still growth
it can and does and will
be delivered     these are
immaculate conceptions

Determination honour legacy
on scarred backs whipped
on broken necks strangled
yet this voice lifts
resettles for eternities
anger cascades into joy
simple possible calm

Like the first seedling emerged
thrusting for light like dusty 
laughter on dawn’s rose cheek

These eyes containers of 
discovery to be discovered
teachers from the past
permanent stamps inking
black paths into nows

These feet standing
bearing down into an
earth that understands
destruction & destiny

This mouth opens
exclaiming truth
in the lines on this face
freedom exhales
again & again


For the past thirteen years, to educate and bring awareness to black Canadians during Black History Month, Canada Post has created stamps that depict black Canadians’ stories and lives. This year’s stamps include images from Amber Valley, Alberta and Willow Grove, New Brunswick, two black settlements. The stamps are designed by Lara Minja of Lime Design Inc.. The artist is Rick Jacobson.

Research: www.google.com/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/7586928/canada-post-stamp-willow-grove-settlers/amp/

www.bittergrounds.com/black-history-month-2021-grow-nb-stamp/

https://www.canadapost.ca/shop/collectors/stamps-and-collectibles-by-year/2021/black-history-month-2021.jsf?execution=e1s1


Alexander Diggs and Eliza Taylor

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