Cane sugar, East Indians in Guyana, Guyana Fiftieth Independence Anniversary, Guyana sugar industry, Guyanese poet Ruel Johnson, Sugar cane workers
East Indian Cane cutter – Guyana
Photo by John Gimlette (2013)
In honor of Guyana’s fiftieth Independence anniversary on May 26th, my Poetry Corner April 2016 features an excerpt from the poem “Sugar” by Guyanese poet and award-winning short story writer Ruel Johnson. His work largely focuses on social and political issues facing Guyana. In the long, multi-sectional featured poem, he addresses the legacy of colonialism on the enduring divide between the two major ethnic populations: the descendants of African slaves and East Indian indentured laborers.
In section 1—stalk, Johnson recalls his boyhood days growing up in the capital. Sugarcane was a sweet treat. His imagery of his mother whacking the stalk along the joints with her best knife takes us into the canefields. The sweet juice comes at a great price. Continue reading