Breaking news: To view all of our General Assembly news coverage in one spot, click here.

Still, we blossom — A poem

I snapped a photo of this tree
Dividing my front yard from my neighbors
That day was a winter in spring’s clothing
But still, the tree blossomed
To capitalize on Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise
I reply, “Still, we blossom in the face of an enemy like Corona.”
Corona as in Crown,
The cap that completes a tyrant’s attire
So surely enough, he felt entitled to rule our lives and
Deducted some for taxes
However, I believe names hold power as crowns do
Outbreaks reigned long before Corona and I’d like to
Recover crowns who lost owners to violent ones
Breonna Taylor.
Even the EMT fell victim to a long line of emergencies
Because enforcers Taylor’d her destiny with blind bullets
Ahmad Arbery.
How are we to stop this life-robbing?
Well, let us jog on ‘til we find finish lines free of fraudulence
George Floyd.
Collectively, we share the same knee on our necks shouting, “I can’t ___!”
Can we stand “__!” to inhale “__!” these stories “__!” and fail “__!”
To exhale “__!” suh-fish-uhnt “__!” resolves “__!” any longer?
No Floyd Mayweather-level comeback
Yet we grow stronger, swifter, sharper
Mind, body, and soul at full, constantly ascending capacity
Still! We! Blossom!
Divine be the name of that tree’s testimony
Playing possum’s not a possible option if
We desire our trees to blossom this spring,
The next and the following because despite winter
Hollering its refusal to chill when its reign was over
The tree still recognized it was time.
That clock whose arms guide us to Mother Future
Who wears her mask tighter than ever
That’s right! The concept of the mask isn’t new to her
Mother Future always wore a mask in hopes of shielding Man
From his own destruction and so he may reconnect with his wife
Present, who’s pregnant with gifts we found neglected
And now more than ever, it’s our duty to parent, protect and nourish
So we, too, flourish like that tree
Yes, it all traces back to that tree who stands tall,
Wearing a cherry blossom top despite all the weeds
But we sometimes forget we, unlike the tree, have feet
And as we March past April, we May as well skip June and greet July
Where fireworks cry Rise…rise…rise…blossom!
Let’s spring forth with Spring’s mentality
Looking back, still we did
Moving forward, still we will
Staying centered, still we do.

GABE RATCLIFFE is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, an avid poet and a senior at Hanover College. Although Ratcliffe is best known for performing spoken word pieces that express social justice themes, he also strives to hone his skills in novel writing, short stories and screenwriting. Find and follow him on Instagram @g.a.ratspeare.