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Tribute to Laurie



I remember him there
by the road, where
he sat, contemplating a ride
on the mid-day bus.
A can, for water at his side;
and with just
a mere cow hide his seat.
He had lost both feet
in Panama, they told me.
This is how I knew laurie.
Everyone passed him on the way,
going a snail's pace you might say;
But he made it.
And no one could deny
that even he without two feet
had a daily quota to meet
cutting canes; his bleeding hands nicked
by the razor-sharp blades of sugarcane.
Still he never complained.

He would toil in the broiling sun,
never stopping 'til he was done
with breaking stones in the old quarry.
This is how I remember Laurie.
So long ago, yet it seems just a while
when I was but a child,
I saw him work day after day
at one job or the next,
and with hardly any pay;
but yet, no job was too complex
for him to do.
And whether he ached or not
he paid his due
With silent resignation to his lot.

Through wind and rain,
across the rough terrain
he traveled inch by inch, at that.
And infact,
he never did complain
or attributed blame
to anyone.
And when his day was done,
with calloused hands he would propel
himself, as far as I could tell
through fields of fallen sugarcane
to escape the stinging rain.

One September, I recall
seeing him; his stature small.
awaiting a ride
by the rugged roadside.
Tin can about his waist,
with cowhide still in place.
And as the driver stopped,
aboard he hopped
with arms he used as feet.
And 'though no one made room for him
or offered him a seat,
he eased on in
and humbly sat among their feet.
when the bus would stop,
off he'd hop;
with such apparent ease
he'd make it to his shack
across the track
between some casurina trees.

He did not know of wealth,
For he had none.
Nor did he know that fate would come
and rob him of himself.
He told of days when
lunch was sweetened water
and a simple cornmeal batter he ate at ten;
of codfish cakes and flour bakes
he cooked, in an open pot
over a make-shift stove of rocks.
And he would tell of nights
he spent
without the luxury of electric light.
On a bed of sun-dried khus-khus grass
and how he went
about the task
of lighting up a kerosene lamp,
or keeping out the damp,
by piling crocus bags upon the floor,
and stuffing newspapers around the door.

One Monday afternoon, quite late
when angry winds would not abate,
when thunder growled, and lightening flashed
like sabres,
and there was quite a gully wash;
He sat beneath a breadfruit tree
exhausted from his labor;
suddenly struct by the lightening bolt
that set him free.
And as his body pale and drained,
lay lifeless in the rain
I wondered had he suffered pain.

This was how he lived,
and how he died.
Not a penny to his name.
Infact, no one had even cried
or to his funeral came.
No eulogy was given
as his cold stiff body was driven
in haste
to its final resting place
upon the hill
where the wind stood still
and lilies bowed their heads
in silent tribute to the dead

I stood and sadly shook my head.
Life was not fair.
Why did no one care?

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Submitted on April 24, 2015

2:55 min read
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Barbara Cadogan Claim this poet

I am a Registered Nurse, and first started to write poetry when I was about 18 years old. I have written several poems on a variety of subjects, and enjoy poems that are light and filled with humor. I feel that a good poem like a painting, is able to evoke a variety of emotions, whether sad or cheerful,angry or sympathetic.My goal in life is to learn as much as I can, and to spread peace and good cheer to many. Above all, to be respectful and helpful to my fellow man. more…

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