Alpha is the first poem in the collection of Ancestors. It aims to associate the author s mother to the splendor of their homeland, which is Barbados. Brathwaite likens Barbados scenery with his mother s resolute character and fortitude in the advent of colonial and postcolonial repression. The first part of Ancestor culminates with Driftwood which enjoins the readers with the mourning of the death of the author s mother. In this state, the narrator believes that upon his mother’ s passing, she has become one with their homeland’ s majesty.
It presents an allegory in regards to both the physical and spiritual inclination of the poet to his loved ones and his home. Whereas the speaking sun signifies the hope of the Barbadian fathers for their children to survive life and continue to live in spite of death being evident. As long as the Barbadian suns continue to cherish life and live, so would the spirit of their culture and their homeland. Brathwaite provides reverence to people of the African Diaspora who have expended great effort and continues to do so, in order to resist the power of those who intend to make them suffer.
The belief that as long as the society commits the Blacks to their memory, the people who have long been deemed insignificant and had been overlooked in almost all historical victories would soon be acknowledged. Braithwaite believes that the African people who struggled to establish their existence in the world would continue to rise in the form of the peoples’ awareness. The next poem to be scrutinized is ‘ The coming of Yams and Mangoes and Mountain Honey’ .
In this context, James Berry identifies with a London market as a semblance of his home, the Caribbean. This is evident in the first lines of the poem, “ Handfuls hold hidden sunset / stuffing up bags / and filling up the London baskets / Caribbean hills have moved and come” . James Berry comes to settle in London during the 1950s. London represented the literary capital for these artists, providing a vital space in which their work could be published and disseminated on a scale unimaginable in the Caribbean.
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