She moved with the ease of a queen
Causing dis-ease among those who
Demanded that true queens wore crowns
Of encrusted jewels.  Her bracelets and anklets
Were of rusted iron, making clinking noises with
Each melodic step that she took. Her neck was
Long and graceful, having been lengthened by
Many a metal collar.

She walked with hips swiveling under crude sack
Cloth; as if she still balanced baskets upon
Her head and babies upon her back.
This sensual hip movement proved to be more than
Enticing as evidenced by the drunken nightly forays
Into the slave quarters which produced yellow babies,
Who carried their master's loads, if not their names.

She had a proud head wrapped with turbans made from
The nothingness of her life; a scrap of this and a scrap
Of that.  She walked proudly and if one could but listen,
They, too, could hear the tinkle of golden bells upon her
Ankles and see elaborate charm bracelets upon her wrists.

If they could but see, they would behold a bejeweled crown
Of pure gold and a treasury of flawless African diamonds.
If they could but see, her dusty calloused feet were shod
In the finest badger's skin, and her sack cloth garment
Transformed into the most magnificent purple and gold
Embroidered robe. She would finally be able to sit down on the
Throne prepared for her of leopard skin which merely covered
A foundation of solid gold.

If only they could see, they would have looked into her
Dark-brown, ageless eyes, seen centuries of silent suffering
Borne only by the great.  They would have understood that only
This queen could have possibly rocked the cradle of 
Civilization from which all nations are said to have emerged.
Alice Parris
Artwork By Artist Nancy Grace
Silenced Voices Speak published in India by