Harriet Powers (1837-1910)
It may be imagined that Harriet stayed close
to her roots – remaining in the state of Georgia
after gaining freedom. Yet her quilting patterns
illustrate past family in Benin, West Africa –
her ancestors present in the cloth strips design
and in the asymmetry of scene borders.
Some did imagine and said, that she, ex-slave,
must of course be illiterate – she, who later in life
read the Bible more than ever in her church group,
and wrote about her well-known Bible Quilt,
viewed in the colored section of the Athens Exposition,
each of fifteen squares a story from the Bible.
We can surely envision that she loved quilt-making,
creating at least five, between sewing clothes
to earn money to raise her children.
Perhaps then she wore her special apron
we can see in a photograph, embellished
with celestial bodies: a moon, sun, shooting star.
I. 1948 U.K. Need
So many men and women
in World War II
So much labor
So many Jamaicans
on a cheap ticket
on the Windrush
So many Parliamentaries
II. Britain Scandal 80 Years Later
threats, orders –
barred from work
some denied healthcare –
some came as children
And it was
a dream house, garden –
fresh mangos, bananas,
in lush greenery,
but problem mountains:
with envy, jealousy.
not British enough
not Jamaican enough,
and Delroy Walker
of more than two hundred
the wide blood splatter
left all over
his new house.
Lavinia Kumar’s latest books are Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Women, Women: Soldiers,
Spies of Revolutionary and Civil Wars, No Longer Silent: the Silk and
Iron of Women Scientists, and Beauty. Salon. Art. She wil have new poems soon in SurVision Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in US, Irish, & UK
publications. She can be found at https://laviniakumar.org/