Emboldened by the summer breeze;
Sun beating on my weathered face,
Gravel crunching beneath my leather shod feet,
Each step draws me further back in time.
Aging plantations blossom from manicured fields,
Emblazoned with flora befitting their past grandeur.
The smell of honeysuckle and cyprus fills the air;
Wondrous is this coalition of scents to the senses.
Wrought iron gates entangled with succulent ivy
Announce the arrival of weary travelers.
Startled… I flush with uncontrollable tears
To realize this beauty is merely a facade.
Hiding ugliness in vibrant color and polished hedge,
Fountains and statues scream of their opulence.
This walk, I so leisurely stroll is etched in blood,
Hoed by chain and shackle;
We gawk in awe at these marvels of charm.
Reminiscing over Scarlett and Rhett;
Nothing but celluloid dreams of an imaginary south.
What of those treated as lesser crops,
Bought and sold like cotton and tobacco,
Building, maintaining, harvesting and subserving;
Flesh and blood herded as cattle…or something less!
Where is the romance…where is the southern charm?
Remember on whose backs this was built.
Remember whose backs were broken for a profit.
Remember on whose backs these estates were preserved.
Only then can you look through clear eyes and clear conscience
At what these really were…
~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~