A Poem Imagining Apess’s Reaction to Rowlandson’s Narrative

He (Apess) was the grandson of a white man

But also the grandson of a native woman

His grandmother was the granddaughter of King Philip


He was born and taken to alcoholics at a young age

Only to be beaten and sold like an animal in a cage

He was no stranger to misfortune and pain


He then went on to understand religion and what from it there was to gain

Rowlandson was also devoted to God

So she tried to see her ordeal as part of her path


Apess may relate to the misfortune she faced

But he related more to the Native race


Apess read what Rowlandson had to say about her captors

She called them “heathens”

She regarded them as barbaric actors

She went beyond lengths to come up with the words to insult them


Apess could see perhaps where she was coming from

But he suspects she was surprised


To see the (native) children facing hunger

To see the lack of actual violence

To see how they live off the land and to know that her people were taking that land


Perhaps Mary knew she had been prejudice in her beliefs

Just as Apess questions whether it is right to have those prejudices


Apess knew that what was under white skin was no different than what was under red skin

But Rowlandson held onto her prejudice so that she would not be shunned from her own kin


But after living with her captors

And bonding with them – though she may deny it

Apess must wonder why it was so hard to defend them


To at least deny their savagery

To understand where their motives came from


A place of oppression

A place of inequality

A place of misfortune


If they had crossed paths at the same time

Apess could ask Rowlandson why


Why white people believe they are more deserving of God’s grace

When their skin is just one

Among dozens of other colors


Why she chose to degrade the native people and continue to secure her place among the whites

Why she chose to believe that her torture was part of God’s plan but not consider that

Perhaps that torture was placed so that she could understand those people


If her destiny was to come across the natives and live with them

Why did she not think that maybe her God put her there to learn

To change her preconceived notions

To see with her own eyes that the native people deserve better treatment

Better rights

Better imagery


Apess is of native descent and he believes in a God

So why was Rowlandson’s God any different or any better


If they both worship and live for the same God

Why are Rowlandson’s people more deserving

Or why do they think they are more deserving


Because of color

Because of what they think it means to be civil

Because of their ignorance


Apess has many questions

Many that cannot be answered fully even today


Because what happened back then

Still happens today

As if some aspects of time haven’t changed


The prejudices still exist

The color still pulls people apart

The idea of religion has been split into all sorts of parts


People will believe what they want to believe

People will not accept some people

People will be people


They will always hold on to the good and the bad

Both will always stick around

Because people will always find a way to justify their beliefs as good

-Maria G. Perez

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