The Sun Was Smiling

He was so happy that day since the rains had gone
and the shimmering sun hanging over the August day
was smiling once again - as it had done in Africa.
Yet it hadn't always been that way, he thought

He remembered the screams from the dusty yard
when people begged for their lives in the baking heat,
the searing bright heat of a relentless midday sun.
There were no smiles then - just the moans of death

Then there were the sounds of chains as the master brought
yet more captives back to satisfy the plantation's hunger;
and young girls, barely 12, would hide and sneakily watch
to glimpse the handsome young princes entering the gates.

The workers at the big white house ran out to meet
the master as he rode into the courtyard, and dismounted,
giving orders to each and every bowing head around,
and to the white men who feared for their own lowly jobs.

The fieldworkers would continue their long day's labour
fearing lashes that would burn deeply into their backs.
Some feared the guns that sat across the lazy thighs
of a trigger-happy overseer as he slowly rode by.

The sugar crops were quickly harvested and brought
to the crusher where the hands of many had been lost.
They, like their bones, had their spirits forever crushed;
And simply watched the world as their lives ebbed away.

And earlier another was bitten by a cornered snake.
Too late, as the host of angry machetes were wielded.
A dead snake encouraged them to work even harder,
since nothing got in the way of the forsaken sugar crops.

In the midday sun, beat the heart of flourishing kingdoms.
Cold European kingdoms far away, where laughter echoed
through the magnificent halls and the many mansions,
built with the spilled blood of stolen ancestors who had fallen.

Kwesi, remembering his African name, was so happy that day
since the rains had gone and the sun was smiling once again.
It was 1838, and the first taste of freedom seemed so sweet.
Today, for the first time, the long-awaited future looked bright.

by Linford Sweeney

Comments (1)

This is splendid poetry..very descriptive.However I guess the poet exagerated a great deal to drive home his point.