George Edward Tait
(For Viola Plummer on the Octogenerian Occasion of Her Eightieth Birthday)
Hewn from the hem of Harriet’s garment
Adorned with the apparel and arsenal of Asantewaa
Girded within the Nubian garrison of Granny Nanny
A weusi woman warrior with a D-12 dossier
Documenting decades of dedication and devotion
Documenting decades of discussion and debate
Documenting decades of discourse and diplomacy
Documenting decades of determination and decisiveness
Documenting decades of dispatch and deployment
Documenting decades of daring and discipline
Definitive dates on the calendar of combat
Doyenne to the twelfth power
Dynamics of a D dominant 12th chord in a Coltrane composition
A December detail with 12 disciples
A diurnal declaration to the 12th of Forever
Building a bustling Brooklyn base into a pan-Afrikan place.
Viva La Viola! – weariness-proof and weather-proof
Armed with the aura of Abubadika
Enveloped within the erudition of Elombe
Motivated by the might of Mugabe and the magnificence of Malcolm -
In the trenches, in the courts; on the tarmacs, at the ports
On the sidewalk, in the street: a movement of melanin fists and marching feet.
Viva La Viola!! – with grassroots grace and global grasp
Asante Sana Afrikan soldier – Freedom ferocity and frontline fearlessness;
Asante Sana Afrikan sage – visceral voice and veracious values.
Viva La Viola!!! – An anointed anthem always sung
An everlasting epic, Eighty Years Young – Happy Birthday!