Baby steps

I cradled my hot bowl of fresh-off-the-stove mac and cheese, padding to my room.

“Stinks, mam’s calling you in the kitchen,” I said, grabbing my little brother’s butt. He squirmed out of reach with a squeal and dashed out of sight.

I plopped my own onto my bed, inhaling the aroma of cheesy goodness I contemplate the possibilities of tomorrow. Statistics and Bio paper 4. I’m not going to even bother to wonder about the odds that I’ll pass or not, not when I haven’t gone about writing them as yet. My study of the stats syllabus is incomplete but admittedly much easier than Pure Maths, I’ll do what I can. I swallowed a huge warm spoonful.

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Artist unknown. Click to see source. Image, sadly removed for copyright avoidance purposes.

AL Biology is more familiar, friendlier turf not necessarily simple but I like the challenge. I hadn’t completed my reading in time, I can only blame myself. I stayed up till this morning dismantling the seemingly complicated processes of the Krebs Cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. It’s kind of funny how last year when I wrote the first half of same test I didn’t understand some things, this year again still but it was only recently these blocks and bits of concepts began to assemble and click into place. I had to keep knocking around these ideas and assumptions, these proven facts of life and it’s tangible components, otherwise I won’t learn anything at all. It’s a glorious feeling, enlightenment.

These courses demand more responsibility on my part rather than on my professor, in the beginning I was afraid, reluctant even. Then I though to myself, “here I am, this person who thinks she can be independent and self reliant, for how long am I going to wait on someone to give me what I want? It doesn’t work like that. Buck up!”

I’m coming to terms with taking my interests in my own hands, me shaping me from the raw materials up to whatever what I see myself becoming. I am soft, rich clay. I am the vase that will sculpt itself into functional work of art, even if to be admired by myself alone in some obscure corner.

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Poem: This is the dark time, my love. By Martin Carter

This is the dark time, my love,

All round the land brown beetles crawl about.

The shining sun is hidden in the sky.

Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.

This is the dark time, my love,

It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.

It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.

Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.

Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

Watching you sleep and aiming at your dreams.

~~~

 This was one of the twenty poems that I had to analyze for my CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) examinations I wrote this year. It’s also one of my favourites. In this poem Mr.Carter, a Guyanese, describes the arrival of the British troops in what used to be British Guiana at the time of independence. Our narrator is engaged in conversation with his lover, referring to the invading soldiers -the’ brown beetles’ – and the effect of their presence on the country. He sees the soldiers bringing death with them and destroying the dreams of innocent people.

(Note: After independence, British Guiana became Guyana, a ‘y’ replacing the ‘i’ and more formally known as Co-operative Republic of Guyana)

The repetition of the line ‘This is the dark time, my love’ emphasizes on what a dreadful and fearful time it was. They were almost there, almost free of the British hold.

Even Mother Nature herself was aware of the struggle: ‘The shining sun is hidden in the sky. Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow’

I quote:

‘This is the dark time, my love,

It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.

It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.

Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.’

Those lines alone tells me how bad it was. I am transported back in time when chaos, fear, hate were in abundance where hope hung by a thread but there was still hope nonetheless.

Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

Watching you sleep and aiming at your dreams.

Aiming at the dreams of the innocent, people who had a right to look forward for a brighter future for their country and themselves. Free of being bullied, hated and looked down upon because of being different only to have a dark shadow cast over them by the invasion of the soldiers.

~~~

This simple poem touched me deep somewhere inside and being a Guyanese myself it holds a bit more meaning to me. After years of British reign Guyana became a free country on  May 26th, 1966. It’s during my days at high school when I began to appreciate poetry though some may be as easy to decipher as a foreign language.