Sugar Cane


It was a documentary on big sugar… plus memories of chewing cane as a kid in trinidad, raw cane juice sweetness for real… plus always passing the


redpath sugar refinery by the lachine canal on my way to a from the south shore… but mostly that sugar pack with the jazzy, colourful figure of a swaying brown silhouette playing guitar… and the stories guys told me of their work in the florida cane fields as migrant labourers… and edwidge danticat deeply bluesing the farming of bones
audio to follow soon. here are the words

Sugar Cane

Sugar cane, sugar cane, sweet sugar cane
Sugar cane cane, sweet sugar cane

As a young boy, I chew the sugar cane
Suck pure sugar juice drip from the cane
Down in Central, they grow the sugar cane
Down in Caroni, cut the sugar cane
Sugar cane sweet, stick between your teeth
Cutlass a chop down stalk of sugar cane
Sugar cane burn and sugar cane slash
Boil and burn in the burning cane trash

This poem written 300 years ago
In the sugar cane plantations of Tobago
In Demerera and Barbados
Down in Jamaica, Santo Domingo
Cut cane, cripple man, work in the field
Woman and child, in the killing cane field
Burn sugar, work slave, cut sugar cane
Cut down lives full of sorrow and pain

Sugar muscevado package on the shelf
There on the package is a man with no wealth
And no land, maracas in he hand
Dance on the package on the plantation
Sway on the package mark Plantation
Black girl, bright clothes, happy on the land
There in the picture on the pack of the sugar
With the Black man and woman on the plantation

There in the supermart, white in the pack
Sugar refined inna this here land
Lantic take cane that break backs
Make money, thief money, also Redpath
On the backs of the Blacks who was kidnapped
And die in the field for the white sugar packs
Stir in the coffee, stir in the tea
Sugar cane blood money, sugar cane sweet

nth digri, 2012


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