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Shot down in
the night
standing firm
against power.
Light in the
darkness.

HAIKU POEM
ROSALIENE BACCHUS

Death would be my final gift to life.
Then: if I must die, I must.
Let the progeny of stars light my path to heaven.
'Me' will be one more star to fiercely light
the darkness of this land.
This body will bear the final calamity.
I will not be the fish caught
in his wily net.
I will not touch his rotting sceptre beaded
with murder,
nor eat my bread in a crumbling house overrun
with rats.
All over the land is heard the sound of women
weeping; the muffled voice
of children starving in the drought.
Who can inhale the stench of wickedness
or dwell whole in this leprous air?
In their sad coat of mange, dogs
hang their hungry heads.
The night is pierced by strange cries of woe,
but he who stirs their tears
in the cauldron of his vanity,
preparing for a feast and a night of loud song,
little knows he of we who
sharpen our spears in night's
naked hours.
Death be my final gift to life.


[From her collection of poems,
My Finer Steel Will
Grow
, 1982]


Poem from A Leaf in His Ear: Collected Poems by Mahadai
Das, Peepal Tree Press Ltd., United Kingdom, 2010.

My Final Gift to Life
Mahadai Das
LIGHT IN THE
DARKNESS
IN MEMORY OF
COURTNEY CRUM-EWING

There is no way Mahadai Das's work can ever be other than
an unfinished project, and I think that readers need to be
trusted to see what is absolutely essential and fully
accomplished in her work, what is the work of a young writer
finding her voice, what was written in politically difficult
times and betrayed by history...
By 1978, [she] was a fierce opponent of the ruling party and
supporter of Walter Rodney and the WPA's attempt to forge
an ethnically united opposition, as the poems in
My Finer
Steel Will Grow
indicate.  [The featured poem comes from that
collection.]
EXCERPT FROM JEREMY POYNTING'S PUBLISHER'S NOTE TO A LEAF IN HIS
EAR: COLLECTED POEMS
BY MAHADAI DAS, PEEPAL TREE PRESS LTD., UK,
2010.
DON'T GIVE UP
CHERLYN MALONEY
GUYANESE GOSPEL
SINGER
Oklahoma Tornado - May 2013
Mahadai Das (1954-2003),
an Indo-Guyanese poet,
wrote poetry from
her early high school
days. She was a
dancer, actress,
teacher, and Diwali
Queen (1973).

She was a volunteer
member of the
Guyana National
Service before she left
Guyana to study for a
Doctorate in
Philosophy in the USA.
Courtney Crum-Ewing

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