Why are our ancestors

always kings and princes

and never the common people?

Was the Old Country a democracy

where every man was a king?

Or did the slave-catchers

steal only the aristocrats

and leave the fieldhands


street cleaners

garbage collectors

dish washers


and maids


My own ancestor

(research reveals)

was a swineherd

who tended the pigs

in the Royal Pigstye

and slept in the mud

among the hogs.

Yet I’m as proud of him

as of any king or prince

dreamed up in fantasies

of bygone glory.

–Dudley Randall