Every month, on the Poetry Corner of my writer’s website, I feature a poem by an American, Brazilian or Guyanese poet. In August 2013, I feature the poem “While the Sun is Trapped” by Guyana-born poet, Mahadai Das (1954-2003).
My Haiku poem “Vengeance of Heaven,” about the consequences of our dependency on fossil fuels, was inspired by the following lines in Mahadai’s poem:
The vengeance of heaven waits armed
in the shadows.
I fell in love with Mahadai’s poetry on reading her collection A Leaf in His Ear, published by Peepal Tree Press in 2010. Following independence, we shared the same hopes and dreams for our native land, Guyana. In “Looking over the Broad Breast of the Land I Saw a Dream,” she wrote:
And I saw the harvest beckoning the reapers,
Children laughing in the sun,
Girls strewing their dreams with flowers;
“On Events that Occurred at Kimbia,” she expressed her deception of working and living among individuals still shackled to false beliefs:
What if people, with their hands stuck from their ears
And tongues laughing outside their mouths,
Would jeer away the threat of superstitious domination?
Her poem “Chile is Who Yuh Fooling,” written in Guyanese Creole, is reminiscent of our fragile existence in difficult economic times, when we bravely attempt to fool others that all is well in our lives:
But, chile, if yuh see yuh family nex Christmas
Yuk lucky, yuh know.
Nex year yuh go start mine chicken yuhself
Dem dam chicken getting too dear
An none a yuh pickney na eat yet.
Wah yuh go do if yuh husband na get wuk nex week
An de fowl-lady come fuh she money?
In “Silent My Heart,” I share her pain at the loss of the man she loved:
Hush, my heart.
You knew him when he walked
against the cold wind, coatless,
lost, like a small-town boy with
faraway eyes in a big impersonal city.
She will care for him.
For Guyana still torn apart by racial/ethnic politics, her poem “While the Sun is Trapped” gives us hope that the injustices we face at the hands of tyrants and greedy men will be avenged when…
The sun comes up in a coup
for the golden day.
See more poems in her collection, A Leaf in His Ears.
Mahadai Das, poetess of our people, you left us too soon.