• sootallures

Return of History


William Ellis aged 12, son of Qualquey Assedew

from Guinea, baptised in Stroud in 1801.

Through tumbling hills and gardens our train draws in.

The station might be Adelstrop — but here

girls cluster, the uniform maroon,

straight necks with Afro coifs, their talk intent,

and my heart bounds — before revolt at what comes back

online — Most students of white heritage.

These girls would shake that school — I love being black

fuel the truth that brings new shame at mansions

from slave owner wealth, broadcloth for redcoats,

trade for slaves worldwide that draped these slopes

in crimson, blue, for Oriental rule —

lights pride in those who rose as activists.

Bolts break, long silence yields and ricochets

a different reckoning, within these hills.

Prue Chamberlayne

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