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|Toil in dead-end
Empty stares in
long, food lines.
Cold is my bread of stone.
My bitter tea fouls
Its inner course in the duodenum
Of my tears.
Ah! The night rains hard
And there is no shelter.
The cracked back of the sky tells
My upward seeking eyes there will be
A storm soon to prove the weather
Foolers more fools.
Yet, does it matter that
This once green grass is growing
Brown and parched with thirst? That
Fruits, once heaped in their
Abundance, used to beckon, like
The vendor's smile, my coppers,
Shrivelled, now demand my dollars, spare
Like the bones beneath my covering flesh?
Oh! The tender roses in my garden
Are starved of water.
With sad eyes I watch them wilt.
Or the tears dried in the indifferent sun.
Or the blood upon the Dutch-thick wall.
Soon come the day
When flowers will rain from heaven
And the stars will take to wing, and spread
Throughout the night, like light.
And the birds will come out of hiding
And sing upon the growing green.
Soon come the scatter of laughter echoing
And starlight dwells entrenched in women's
Poem from A Leaf in His Ear: Collected Poems
by Mahadai Das, Peepal Tree Press Ltd., United
My Bread of Stone
|THE SECRET GARDEN
MUSIC BY LUCY SIMON
Mahadai Das, an
wrote poetry from
her early high school
days. She was a
teacher, and Diwali
She was a volunteer
member of the
Service before she
left Guyana to study
for a Doctorate in
Philosophy in the
The poems collected here are characterized by a restless
determination and energy as well as by unexpected and
startling imagery. Amidst the air of sorrow that permeates
many of these poems, there is a sharp wit and a keenly
reflexive intellect at work sifting through the joys,
disappointments, frustrations and pain of a life lived through
the fervour of nationalism and the bitter realities of
independence in Guyana under Burnham and the mass
migrations that followed.
EXCERPT FROM INTRODUCTION BY DENISE DE CAIRES NARAIN GURNAH TO
A LEAF IN HIS EAR: COLLECTED POEMS BY MAHADAI DAS, PEEPAL TREE
PRESS LTD., UK, 2010.