If you greet my passion with hoots,
"I don't want to seek my roots!
I'd rather the past be left unmined,
for I might not like what I might find,"
that's your choice, I leave you to it;
though that is not the way I view it.
But if you've an itch to know and share
and make an effort to find what's there,
you may indeed turn up a stone
and find what you'd rather leave alone.
Perhaps you find that old cold trail
ends at the door of the county jail.
Or maybe you've rich or royal kin
among whom others might not fit in:
those whose presence you'd like to bury,
who cheated at cards or forgot to marry.
We love to show off saints and winners,
but what to do with losers and sinners?
Do we leave bad apples on the tree,
hanging up there for all to see;
or pluck them off and deny we know
the tree on which they chanced to grow?
Here are my thoughts about what to
with relatives not as nice as you.
I believe we should tell the truth
if they were criminal or uncouth.
>From this distance we cannot judge
since we never took that one-mile trudge
in shoes that pinched or had no soles,
since we never had to play the roles,
that made them do just what they did
or forced them into that moral skid.
Nor do we know whose shining star
was just the result of good P.R.;
whose exemplary public lives
hid the fact they beat their wives.
Wealth and rank provide no surety
of one's real piety or purity.
Embrace the outcasts, faults and all,
for the good they did despite their fall;
and remember that this motley crew
supplied the genes that made you, you.
Just write down all the facts you find
and let the future make up its mind;
and hope we have no need to fear
events that occurred in a bygone year
will somehow reflect on us from afar
and make us other than we are.
But if the truth still turns you pale,
don't just make up a better tale,
or fudge the dates or change a name
or otherwise assign the blame.
If you cannot determine to be frank,
please just leave the spaces blank.
Better to leave the facts a mystery
than attempt to alter history.
Yet truth remains; it may still be found,
though deeply buried underground;
and when it is, you know that means
someone like me will spill the beans.