Guyanese-born Poets Etch our Nation’s Journey in Verse

On the Anniversary of Guyana’s Independence Day: Guyanese-born Poets Etch our Nation’s Journey in Verse

by Rosaliene Bacchus

Guyana Independence Arch – Georgetown – Guyana  – “Monument to Freedom” unveiled on 22 May 1966, a gift from the Demerara Bauxite Company (DEMBA) to the people of Guyana on their independence. Source: (arichards gallery)

On 26 May 2012, Guyana celebrated forty-six years as an independent nation. I recall well that night of 25 May 1966 when I stood with my family amidst the crowd in the Queen Elizabeth Park (later renamed National Park), watching the grand cultural performances to commemorate our independence from Great Britain. Just before the big moment at midnight, the crowd gasped in surprise. Our Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and his political rival and former Premier Cheddi Jagan unexpectedly embraced each other. Emotions ran deep.

The lights dimmed and wrapped us in silence. As the band intoned “God Save the Queen,” I watched the Union Jack slip down the flagpole while our new Golden Arrowhead climbed to the top where it unfurled to loud cheers and a gun salute. The sky exploded with the greatest display of fireworks I had ever seen, depicting Kaieteur Falls and the face of our Prime Minister. Great pride surged through my young veins. Our nation was born.   [read more]

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  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On May 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I love the Sunrise picture Rosaliene since it represents a brand new day and brings hope.
    Pharaohs and powerful kings of ancient times would have given up all they had just to get a glimpse of the unique Sunrise of today.
    The dawn of a bright new day for our beautiful Guyana, a chance for renewal, rebirth of the human spirit and to make this place from whence we came, indeed very special!
    There is hope within each sunrise
    Hope to face the brand new day
    Gone are yesterday’s demises
    Hope replaces my dismay
    Live to see each morning’s sunrise
    And your hope to others give
    Happy Independence Guyana!

  • de castro compton  On May 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    wonder words wonderful nostalgia….I was serving in Royal Air Force in the MALDIVE island GAN in the middle of the indian ocean…I was unable to attend the independance celebrations
    but read all about on my arrival back in the UK.
    I returned to GUYANA in 1967 and spent 10 years working in
    GUYANA in GT LINDEN ESEQUIBO BARTICA NEW AMSTERDAM …before returning to UK. Three of my children were born in GT the other UK. They wish to “visit” GUYANA again and again but doubt if the will wish to live there….sad … but am forever the optimist
    so remain hopeful that they change their minds.
    It is best not to reminiss the past …instead be optimistic about the future.
    GUYANA will change as the “desire” is there…I experienced it on my last visit in APRIL…the most valuable asset GUYANA has are its peoples…all 750.000 of them ! forget about the MILLION
    living elsewhere…the change must come from within…of course influenced by “expatriates” “foreigners” “aliens” whatever word we describe “non-residents” by !!

    forever the optimist
    I will never forget my roots….and no one should.

  • ndtewarie  On May 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    So when you are being political
    Sowing seeds of distrust so hateful
    Joining the highbrows helping
    To divide us and keep on ruling
    Better know that fellow man we are
    A good people who never think of war
    In small towns and tiny villages
    Enjoying the same sea breezes
    Once were never divided living like chums
    Not by race or politics or bully hoodlums
    My Guyana is for all the six major races
    The Amerindians who made the first traces
    The sons and daughters of the blacks
    Who came after camouflaged attacks
    Of the slaves uprooted from Africa
    To build the plantations of the bakrah
    And the East Indians shipped from India
    These are the people who made Guyana
    These coolies really deserve our cheers
    What it is today built by these pioneers
    And they all have a democratic right
    To govern themselves peacefully
    In my Guyana you move forward
    Throw off your shackles
    Stop the race card game
    And the blame game
    We cant do anything about the past
    But we can learn from it
    Take the good dump the bad
    And move forward think positive
    Like the days of yore
    When we fought the bakrah
    Became independent Guyana
    When all the races lived in peace
    When all the religions were respected
    When all men were brothers
    When we worked together
    Played and laughed together
    And sometimes loved together
    Yes that’s my kind of Guyana

  • Cyril Balkaran  On May 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Wadwsworth Longfellow, a great poet of the USA, once wrote:
    “Tell me not in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream,
    For the soul is dead that slumbers
    And things are not what they seem.
    Life is real. life is honest
    And the grave was not its goal,
    Dust thou art to dust re turneth
    Was not spoken of the SOUL!

  • ndtewarie  On June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm


    Always blasting the old coastland
    From Point Playa to Springland
    Daily taking the beating and all
    Was and is the good old Sea Wall
    Firstly built by the good old Dutch
    And now have some of other’s touch
    Like Don Quixote she clasped the waves
    Reminiscent of Guyana Arawak’s braves
    With dirt and concrete so reinforced
    Battling the Atlantic Ocean’s course
    Eight feet below sea level still
    As the foaming froth try to fill
    The land with her muddy salt sea water
    Standing her ground and getting stronger
    Over spill sucked up by waiting crab-grass
    As the sea wall look upon this as eye-pass
    And the waters shyly ebbs away
    Only to be returned another day
    The old man watching the brackish waters
    Heedless of the local bat and ball cricketers
    Waiting for the right time and tide
    To throw his cast-a-net far and wide
    As a gull flitters nearby as an imp
    For the discarded fish or shrimp
    And life goes on as farmers forge ahead
    Thinking of their crops and homestead
    Not knowing how much pressure it would take
    Or when and where the sea-wall could break
    The sea-wall is alive as day is nearly closing
    Some come for walks others on their choosing
    Lovers holding hands and watch the sunset
    True and even taboo unions try to forget
    What will befall them with their confessions
    For then inter-marriage could cause fractions
    And as you follow the sea-wall to the city
    You see lovers smooching in many an alley
    They are on bicycles or just standing
    Looking into one another’s eyes talking
    As the waters lash the sea-wall with sprays
    Likewise hearts and desires are in a blaze
    Looking across the sea each with dreams
    For life abroad hatching plots or schemes
    Oblivious of all in that environment
    Concentrating on emotions so fervent

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