I was trying to think what to post for Labor Day, this day that honors the worker and heralds the movement toward fall and the return of children to school. I know I think of sharpening my pencils and getting my files in order. It feels like a new year, a fresh and motivated start. Joe Riley from Panhala posts this poem today. I think it beautifully expresses what this day is about.
Juncha slowly dying of jaundice
Or yellow fever or blight or jumbie or neighbour's spite,
No one knows why he turns the colour of cane.
Small boys come to peep, wondering
At the hush of the death-hut
Until their mothers bawl them out.
Skin flaking like goldleaf
Casts a halo round his head
He goes out in a puff of gold dust.
Bathed like a newborn child by the women.
Laid out in his hammock in the yard.
Put out to feel the last sun.
They bury him like treasure,
The coolie who worked two shillings all day
But kept his value from the overseer.
~ David Dabydeen ~
(Turner: New and Selected Poems)