Blessed, When the World Has Fallen Apart

(Reflection on a blessing from a Nigerian Chief, given Juneteenth 2022, in Maine)

The world has fallen apart 
Though this is not the first time, 
It is just one of the times
where it is all too much; 
Intentionally crafted 
By mortal powers that be. 
Not ordained by divinity.

But not dead 
I remind myself. 
And yesterday I was again reminded 
Of ancestors
Who have been tasked similarly.

What is next? 
What do I do now? 
When my back has been given 
Far too much weight 
To bear; 
When the final straw is placed? 
I did not know what I needed, 
Until it was before me, 
A spirit of power and memory, 
Backlit by the warm glow of summer sun, 
A masked figure, 
Familiar to family I do not know, 
And my predecessors,
Speaking in a language I do not know, 
But understood. 
The slow, careful sound of ankle bells
And a motion to come forth,
Welcomed me in, 
And back, 
In time and space, 
This has happened before, 
And here
we are; 
A blessing given 
Of memory, 
Of protection, 
Of our shared connection,
I cannot know the intention, 
But I felt it 
We all felt it. 
Let us not forget; 
Never forget,
This moment, 
Or all that brought us 
Here—in time and space. 
Past, present 
And that 
we are not done, 
—This is always just beginning. 
We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams, 
May we be our descendants’ bravest heroes, 
keepers of the flame, 
Knowing we are the ones we have been waiting for, 
let’s go!