Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ancestor Worship: A Lost Art of Responsibility


to you who 
would be ancestor
look through 
sockets unblinking, 

drop-jaw prayer
when words fail you. 

these are the times
we forsake you, 
and for what you 

this reckoning of ages
in our hands, but not 
from your legacy:

that is OUR failure, 
and not to be forgiven.

to you who 
would be ancestor 
bury your sadness in
deeper disappointment,

for it may sustain
your efforts and 
reason for hope that 

these are but 
millimeters of ignorance
we pretend to express,
hope that your spirit
will guide and correct: 

that is OUR saving grace
if there is to be one. 

to you who 
would be ancestor
awaken us from our 
dead-of-night dream 
of self
of season
of purpose 

for reason. 

Poem © 2013 R. Burnett Baker
Photo © 2013 R. Burnett Baker  (Photo taken by R. Baker,  Cobbs Hill Park,  Rochester, NY.)


  1. Your poem is trance-like in rhythm, tone, message. I think it's one of your finest!!!

  2. I was drawn into your poem from the first sentence, I love the subject of ancestry. We have so many questions in regards to where we came from. I wrote two poems which deal with this subject, "All the Dead Doors" and "DNA". Your poem is remarkable.

    1. Thank you Lisa....I will read your poems tonight!