A vagrant writer from the southern Caribbean - a spasmodic scribbler on folkloric themes, reflecting the many streams that have flowed into the Basin from pre-historic times 'til today.
River Ant told of this many Suns before, Busied in preparation and climbed higher. Son of the Grey Serpent slid over the sky. Now water drips everywhere, beating through the Canopy, draped in mists. Boinayel with us through still, sullen days of Waiting. Seven Suns of rain. Moon is almost full and life a slow round, From light grey to black, dark grey and back. The whole village huddles in the bohios. Our smoke hangs trapped between the trees. Children are fractious, screaming, Some becoming sick. Suspicious (dark) eyes everywhere, watching Everything, Following me. I hear whispering behind my back. At night even our ancients keep to their caves. Now Spider have come inside. Some of the children play with them, lightening Our mood. We stay apart, avoiding each other's gaze. I keep busy shaping a new bow, tipping arrows. As Great Star peeks red through the trees, I rise silenty and slip away quickly towards High Hill. I feel her watching me, others too. In the clearing where the food grows, Ani has spotted two Snake coiled in copulation. They gather, screeching and flapping, call in alarm. Hissing Snake defend themselves Then escape into the bush. Suddenly brave, Dog set off in chase. Eighth Sun has risen bright from its cave, Marohu is here. At High Hill I climb the tallest tree slippy with moss, falling almost. A gentle breeze begins to move through the forest, over the damp earth. Squatting in the crook of a branch, I look out, looking in. Contemplation. Waiting for a sign, I think only of her. I can hear Bee come and go above me. Always looking, I am silent. Nothing. All day watching Sun move the shadows. Nothing. River is rising, fallen trees float past and the dark hooves of drowned animals rotate slowly. As Great Star returns, with heavy heart I descend. They run from their cover. On his orders, they have come. Silently, like hunters. They bind me as I step to the ground, very tight. My brothers are carrying me dangling from wrists and ankles On a pole back to the village. Thrown on the damp earth, neck twisted I watch Sun sinking back to his cave. A brother unbinds my ankles. In the village the women huddle together Weeping. I see my young one at her full breast. We are being taken out. She too and the child. He knew? He knew! Down to the bank, River is rising still, Very fast now in mid-channel. The long-gone ones are abroad, flitting in the trees, eating guava, Hanging in the guanaba, chattering. A kanoa has been prepared. It is darkening fast. Cacique is barking Man words. They are dressing me in a nagua, marking my face And back with genipa. I am punched, mocked, beaten, pushed stumbling To the bank and the waiting kanoa. They throw me in. Bottom is rain-damp, cold on my cheek. I can see food, cooking pots, other things. The new bow is there, three arrows. As they push the kanoa down the bank, she runs. My child is clutching her, screaming. Cacique lunges, grabs the child, pushes her away. Sudden awful silence. He knew! He knew! Hearing the kanoa slip the bank she turns and runs, Slips through the men, crashing through tugging Water, Throws herself at the kanoa, Clings to it, almost capsising us. She hauls Herself over and into it, The rough bark scrapes smooth brown skin. River draws us quickly into the night. Grabbing a paddle, she struggles to keep us from Mid-stream and disaster. Wide-eyed and frantic she unbinds me, Fearing the force of the rising water. Between the banks, fear crosses to desire Rising Moon follows us through the trees. Now Fix the omen, Between the known and the unknown. Channel leads to channel, each new channel Larger. Both working the paddles now, riding the surge Of the flows as they merge. I shout orders, giving encouragement. Moon high now in full splendour. Birds call alarm. Dark banks, silver water. Shadows looming at Every side. We fight River for hours, trying to run aground. But we are swept on helpless, Till the return of Great Star. First light and the far bank lies almost out of Eight. Our bank the trees are smaller, thin spread. Ahead of us Sun bursts up from his cave, we are Carried off towards him. She is weeping softly in the prow. Spent, sleep takes us.
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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