Poetry Archive – Dierdre Payne

Dierdre Payne

State flag 1861

State flag 1861

MISSISSIPPI HISTORY

Visit the battlefields,

hallowed ground of those who died by valor and arms.

Circle the square,
dedicated to heroes in the fight.

Gaze through the trees
at the ante-bellum homes carefully maintained to preserve what was left
behind by the fallen and the survivors.
The war was lost.

The cause fell into dishonor.

The surrender was political
and continues to be debatable.
A native son declared, “The past is not dead; it’s not even past.”

The book, Native Son, details why.

We share a bloodline but have different inheritances.

When we honor our shared past,
we have different heroes and monuments.

You honor those who saw my ancestors as chattel.
I honor those who knew better and hoped against hope for recognition
of the truth and for compassion.

Your anger is in having lost.

My pain is in knowing that the victor was a coward.

US flag 1865

US flag 1865