Frank Bana

Sugar And Gold - Poem by Frank Bana

Columbus sailed for riches
Pizarro and Cortes sought gold
The living slaves, the dead of Haiti
The Aztecs and the Incas
Haunt their testimony and
Historical foothold

Virginians mined tobacco
Brown leaves lustrous by the fields
Cured by branded bodies
Newly broken in
The sweat and joy entirely
Extracted by the sun

Jackson pledged to the Cherokee
The land would stay under their feet
As long as the grass shall grow
And the rivers run, his promise held
Until the white man with his dogs
Came running to the smell of gold

Heavy leaves of cane
Lacerate the children's hands
As they strip the stands
Working without cease
By heavy furnaces, consumed
By sudden leaps of crystalising flame

Things we may not see
When gold is hidden plain
Sugar underneath the tongue
Sleeping in the cold
Evicted by the company
Imperial Tobacco Road
With time to mine
The provenance of gold.

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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Poem Edited: Monday, January 24, 2011

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