Poetry

Contributors: 

Cyril Dabydeen

Norman Datt

Ray Williams

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KAIETEUR

By

Ray Williams

 

 
We heard your mighty roar from fields afar
Enticing us to seek your majesty
Around the bend the ancient trail lead
As we trudged through the lush canopy
And no sooner forging past the final opening
You revealed your beauty for all to see

We stood where many had been before
Lost in awe of your enduring splendour
And as we gazed you drew us yet closer
Spellbound within your liquid embrace

Don’t go too close to the edge we’re warned
Death’s a mere eight seconds below
But captivated we stayed and gazed
With eyes a smiling and hearts aflutter
As your water Gods danced their endless dance

Cola brown your essence tumbled
Thousands of gallons
In an instant they went
Colliding on massive black boulders below
From where your lively spirits
In clouds of rainbow brilliance
Did rise and dance even more

You snaked your flowing body
Down the rapid Potaro River
Ever twisting and turning
Through flora and fauna
Longing for the far away coast

No time to stop, evermore seeking
Your Gods eternally leading the way
Another twist, another turn
One final thrust when all was but spent
And waiting to greet you
At the end of your quest
The motherly arms
Of the wide blue Atlantic.

February 2014

 

 

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Cyril Dabydeen

A poem by Cyril Dabydeen, writer, poet, novelist, literary critic, educator and race relations advisor.

Cyril Dabydeen was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of Guyana (Canada) awards 2010.

He s a prolific writer and educator. He was the official Poet Laureate of Ottawa from 1984 to 1987.

He is included in Canada’s Who’s Who. He was recently nominated for an Order of Canada.

Cyril Dabydeen

 

Revolution

……the combination of the alphabet with volatile elements of the soul. E.C.

1

Words carry us to where we haven’t considered,

places we are less familiar with in Canada

or somewhere else, a new vantage point really.

Other terrain too: Africa, Asia, Lain America,

with the desire to eke out a living because

of what history compels us to do, or what

we now come to grips with: a singular

life all down through the ages.

2

Let the Scriptures tell of what’s past as patriarchs

like Abraham walk in the desert, or shed blood

in a sacrifice because of the Promised Land.

The centuries’ tug-o’-war with more sacrifices.

School violence. Inner-city blues. It’s now

the media’s interest in odd circumstances.

3

Mythologies are what I’ve come to believe in:

machine-gun fire taking dealy aim, or a love

that’s forever lost in a burnt-out ghetto. Indeed,

who’s at risk with Ezekiel or Jeremiah still

murmuring phrases? Rap music is everywhere!

 

All I must contend with, or keep hearing voices

after another outburst in a back alley. Revolution

is at the heart of what I stand for, the stars coming

like meteorites….life’s enduring silence only.

 

Appeared in my book ‘ Unanimous Night’  (Black Moss Press. Canada)

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BINDRABAN

by Norman Datt

 

I’m still going strong at seventy one
For his off-springs he was a beacon
I have to give thanks to this grand man
My great great grand father, Bindraban
Who had the courage to come to Guyana
Leaving his royal loving bountiful India
Bindraban realized it was no easy task for sure
He was not mature and there wasn’t any detour
He stowed away on a sailing ship
Bounded for unknown indentureship
To leave his life of comfort and luxury
Going to a foreign and distant country
Crossing the cala-pani in 132 days on the Hesperus
And putting everything solely in Lord Rama’s trus’
And for that I do thank Bindraban
He was indeed an adventurous man
For many times when I’m lost out of the blue
I always ask,“What would Bindraban do?”
And the answer comes immediately
As if he’s is almost standing beside me

He’s still around us fighting our battles
I see his pioneer spirit in all my Uncles
Like the eldest uncle Joe who had nothing
With old scrap iron toiling and sweating
Inventing, building, and improvising without a tool
Was successful raising thirteen kids going to school
Like Uncle King with no high school education
Rose to be a man of action and very high station
Studied a correspondence course in Engineering
Who could diagnose your engine as its purring
Like Uncle baba who was no modern geek
But known for his taxi service 6 days a week
Like Uncle Turner the local intrepeneur
Always ready to take risks and explore

He grew black-eye peas instead of rice
If in a vise you can count on his advice
He’s the Village Overseer and make women swoon
For he knew how to could carry a Sinatra’s tune
Like smiling Uncle Chabbie the last one alive today
He’d the biggest heart sometimes would go astray
And after six months planting rice in the fields
Would spend his wages forgetting his ordeals
He built a Morris Oxford car from the ground up
It ran as smooth as silk and Boy! could it gallop
For the top and doors he used oil drums to make patches
In cricket he was a fast defiant bowler in many matches
And not forgetting my pretty aunts and my loving mother
Forced into a traditional match marriage with my  father
A cruel selfish man was my father
My mother held the family together
In those days divorce was taboo
You tow the line and never argue
My aunt Jas had tremendous independent spirit
And I think we’ve to give Bindraban the credit
She was one of the first young ladies in the village
To further her studies, drop the get married adage

Instead she chose a career and became a teacher
She had vision too she married the Headmaster
And raised a strong family of five
Without her John they did survive
Then the last sister, Pearly, as pretty as a picture
A kind loving aunt I couldn’t never ask for better
She made the great leap and married in Suriname
To a Dutch business man ever smiling and so calm
The brothers gave their last sister a wedding banquet
Leaving her family, now that’s the Bindraban spirit.
Each coming generation showed that Bindraban’s mettle
Many have turned out to be diamonds under a bushel
And just because one man had the determination and guts
Refused to be stifled under his parental tutelage of ruts
We really have become better men and women
And with that good satisfaction I can say Amen!
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MABARUMA

By

Ray Williams

 

Sun up early
Seeping through the mist
Fowl cocks crow
First one, then another
And soon a chorus

 

Stray dogs wandering
Barking, scurrying
Along red dirt country roads
Seeking, sniffing
Something, anything to eat

 

Kiskadees and Toucans
Chirp and squawk
In the meadows cows graze
On fresh green grass
With white Iris birds
Strolling at their sides
Ready to pluck their ticks and bugs

 

Narrow wooden planks
Across black water trenches
Where brown reeds grow
And tall green grasses
Sway in the wind
Lead to small wooden houses
Standing on long concrete stilts

 

Children in uniforms
Of beige and brown
Walk hand in hand
To village schools
Passing open air markets
Trucks and cars
All kicking up dust
And avoiding pot holes

 

The sun slips over
The western hill
As flocks of birds
Hurry home to nest
A cool breeze blows
At the end of day
Causing stars to come out
In all their brilliance
While all around
The night creatures sing
And soon after
The mosquitoes attack.

                                                                                                           February 2014