The Broken Cutlass
The Gallows tree, the two dollar note tell the tales
Of the hanging noose in front of the old court house,
Stood alone, “Is that big black ugly sinting,”
Skeptic reproaches to the sculptural setting;
Unveiled by Edward Seaga,
That chronicled the whole saga.
The conviction of another Black Jamaican,
Trespassed on naked history in the making,
In the shadow of slavery chains
But stood up for those can’t claim.
An artistic expression of the warrior’s stand,
Captured and sculpted by Edna Manley’s hands.
Grip firm with the most patriotic hands,
Folded arms clasping the mighty cutlass,
Rough edges do or die but never gutless,
That foiled all immoral plans
In honor of selves, lives and lands.
Still remember that hour of peace.
Though without illusion rage release,
When to the alter he led a retreat
To intercede assurance without defeat
And to find solace in the higher power,
Climaxed in a serene passion of the hour.
Still recall the torture in that crucial hour of decision,
Engraved in the heart of those who took on the mission;
Emancipation brought much suffering and unrest,
Dreaded thoughts of re-enslavement from the west;
When wrath and avenge at once thought cease
To the point at which to die, stand and succeed.
The way they turned their backs on him,
Broken promises to save their own skins;
Sold to the Bracka for 2000 pounds of hog shit;
Strung up on the tree like a goat to the slaughter;
A noose around his neck and a broken cutlass;
The symbol of hope splattered on the shore.
The statue of Phillip bore his name yesterday,
Proudly stood tall in the square of Morant Bay;
A monument that inspired the world to remember and see,
Where the souls of the braves baptized by the Caribbean Sea;
And the burden he bore liberated in a broken neck
In a burnt down courthouse with a broken deck.
No honor left in this mighty monument,
Of un-inscribed history immortalized document,
Tells the tales of heroism and gallantry that lasts,
In a tore down edifice and a broken cutlass;
The memories of the carnage will not pass
As long as our history is restrained in our past.
Bring back respect to the hills and vales of St. Thomas,
Show honor to rescind the broken and lost promises.
Put back the mighty monument to shine for all to see,
Like a light house from the brim of the Caribbean Sea,
And let those who tried to kill the dream he trounced alone
Be damned because in each of us bears a Bogle clone.
The bones of the braves who stood with him consumed,
Still languish in the valley of the shadows of death
But will never die as the tombs are exhumed;
As another Jamaican, a Bogle is consummated
And the mother cries as her womb exudes,
Another black child is born and a Bogle is incarnated.
By Franklin Douglas