Bitter Sugar

Bitter Sugar

A Poem by Tomás Ó Cárthaigh
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The island of St. Croix has a Granard, Annally, Longford, Corn Hill, Cartys, Cartys Point, and Madame Cartys placenames. All very quant and interesting until we realise these were some of the slave ow

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A distant isle, where it rarely rains
Families in a Granard that never burned
Bar neath the sun, until
The darkness of the day to night turned
Cooled the sweat upon the brow
Of those whose forefathers shackles and chains
Rattled in the fields in fear of the whip yielded
By those of whose power only the names remains.

The fields from where my people come
Lived in fear of the yeomans sword
The flames set by redcoats and Covenanter
The neighbours whispering words.
Little known, less spoken of the darkies
Driven by plantation agents from here across the sea
Drovers of humanity whip workers to grow the bitter sugar
That I stir here now to sweeten my coffee.

Article on Longford involvement in the Slave Trade >>>


Glossary

"darkies" a semi-racist term for coloured people, can be or not depending on the context used in the vernacular today spoken in North Longford.

"Covenantor" - puritan and Cromwellian troops that burned Longford to the ground in wars from the 1600 to 1650 period.

"neighbours whispering words" informers who often turned in people for money or a grudge.

"Drovers" Pauric Colums famous poem of The Drover is invoked to show the way these people thought others were like cattle to be used and abused.

© 2015 Tomás Ó Cárthaigh


Author's Note

Tomás Ó Cárthaigh
Part of my research into the slave trade in St. Croix, and trying to find out how so many areas have Longford placenames...

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Featured Review

Well written and profound and tragic story of slave trade, that always makes me shudder at the thought of such cruelty. Those poor wretched souls, however did they endure such pain and inhumane treatment. It's horrific just even to think about.


Helena

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

An insight into the dark side of the slave trade as we may all to often forget, brilliantly portrayed, !

Posted 3 Years Ago


Well written and profound and tragic story of slave trade, that always makes me shudder at the thought of such cruelty. Those poor wretched souls, however did they endure such pain and inhumane treatment. It's horrific just even to think about.


Helena

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Honest and powerful story in the poetry.
"Driven by plantation agents from here across the sea
Drovers of humanity whip workers to grow the bitter sugar
That I stir here now to sweeten my coffee."
Poor get poorer and rich get richer. Same world today. Thank you for sharing the excellent poetry.
Coyote

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

While the subject matter is horrific to consider - the poem itself is fascinating and I so appreciate when a piece of writing causes me to THINK and to delve into the subject matter further. Well done.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

4 Years Ago

Its doubly horrific for me, as its probably my own family. Its our surname, our spelling ,and from o.. read more
TL Boehm

4 Years Ago

WOW. I've studied my family over the past five years. Lots of stalwart Cornish tin miners - some mar.. read more
Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

4 Years Ago

According to researchers into the DRAKE surname, its the same name as the crowd in Ashe (Sir Frances.. read more


an interesting piece ;-describing the harsh existence the slaves endured..
well explained and deeply expressed; nice work!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

not familiar with the lore, but sure enjoyed the splendid visual and mythological feel of the poem.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Eerie and distant, it seems like something is looming. Great job.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nicely done! There are a couple of corrections I'd make, though I could easily be wrong (and please tell me if I am): I think that "forefathers" should be "forefather's" or "forefathers' ", and "names remains" I think should be "names remain".

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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568 Views
8 Reviews
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Added on August 27, 2015
Last Updated on August 27, 2015
Tags: slavers, St. Croix, Longford, Carty, Cartys Point, Madame Cartys, Granard

Author

Tomás Ó Cárthaigh
Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

Renmore, Galway, Ireland, An Roinne Mór, Gallaimh, Eire, Ireland



About
Ten years on this site... a quick decade, and an age in another way... Flanagan and the Lampost The Novena, some Drama and Midge Ure in Galway Fiddling at Longford Donkey Innovat.. more..

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