One Poem. One Planet.–Lorna Goodison

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THE YARD MAN: AN ELECTION POEM

When bullet wood trees bear
the whole yard dreads fallout
from lethal yellow stone fruit,

and the yard man will press
the steel blade of a machete
to the trunk in effort to control

its furious firing. He will dash
coarse salt at its roots to cut
the boil of leaves, try slashing

the bark so it will bleed itself
to stillness, and yet it will shoot
until the groundcover is acrid

coffin color, the branches dry
bones. Under the leaves it lives,
poverty’s turned-down image

blind, naked, one hand behind
one before. The yard’s first busha
was overseer who could afford

to cultivate poverty’s lean image,
but good yard man says since we
are already poor in spirit, fire for it.

 

-Lorna Goodison, (Jamaica) from BOMB Magazine, Winter 2003

 

 

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