there is a bloodline thread between us I can run my finger along
Born five days before me and
three hundred and twenty nine years,
there is a bloodline thread between us
I can run my finger along.
Innocent arrival in this “New World”,
brought into being by your parents’ desire.
Desire for freedom, courage to question
Established Church dogma and decree,
and pure Puritan resolve,
took them onto ominous autumnal seas
in a vulnerable wooden bark
to a land they felt uncultivated and unkind.
Your father died three months later.
Little is known about William White.
What did freedom mean to them?
or to you? Freedom to worship
in your own way is what I was taught.
But your parents brought with them
their own dogmas of fundamentalism,
of patriarchy, of human dominance over
Nature and the unquestioned
rights of European race and culture.
The “New World” was yours to take
regardless of it not being new.
Will you question your freedom
when you lie with your love, Sarah,
without sanction of ceremony,
beginning a new birth that
will lead, in time, to my own?
Is it traces of the thirst for freedom
that will rouse your young descendent,
Zachariah, to throw himself in front of
musket balls in 1777? Will either of you
question what a Freeman implies?
Once born, each will struggle, maybe grow,
eventually pass away, leaving traces behind –
some like gouges in the earth,
some like gardens – sometimes both.
I have a thirst for freedom, and question
all assumptions passed unquestioned to me.
Assumptions are deadly – fixed views blinding.
There are no new worlds –
except those of the heart and imagination –
no territories to take and hold on to.
May this poem leave traces in hearts
of questions with no certain answers.
Both on the shore and out at sea
there are many ways of seeing.