SHORT STORY: KUMERAU Dam Site –  By T. Eric Matthews

KUMERAU Dam Site – Upper Mazaruni River, Guyana

 By T. Eric Matthews

In the early 1970’s the Guyana government took steps to develop a hydro-electric power scheme in the Upper Mazaruni River area. The Upper Mazaruni Development Authority (UMDA) was specifically created  to plan and execute the project. The dam itself was to be built near or at the Kumerau Falls. A great deal of field work was done by several teams crisscrossing the Region. Actual construction never started and the scheme never came to fruition. 

The early morning forest mists had cleared

Sunlight moved among the leaves and shifting shadows

We heard you in the near distance

There was no mighty roaring and tumult like your bigger sister Kaieteur

high up in the Potaro

We climbed and clambered up the rocky slope

Anxious to see you, to introduce ourselves, to feel you in the spirit

Your voice grew louder with each upward step

The rock-strewn path we trod could not deter.

We crested, and almost suddenly, there you were

In all your torrential majesty!

Kumerau! The dam site!

You were so splendid, as you rushed and fell

Over and across the wide lip of rocks

We felt the wetness, the freshness, the purity of yourself,

Your constant and unstoppable muted roar

Almost gentle upon our senses

Myriad rocks glistened and glinted at your feet

Rich green vegetation bathed in your dark brightness below

Strange insects flit in the moist air, iridescent  in their brief sojourns.

We stood with almost reverence, almost speechless, enthralled!

You were so beautiful, so Godawesome!

How could we be so haughty, so arrogant to think of averting, of stemming,

of controlling you, to flood and inundate and drown your plains behind you,

To change the valley floor below you.

We stood, humbled,– and descended with the music of your voices

in our memories.

Kumerau! – No man-made dam will ever mar your pristine beauty!!

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  • Francis Quamina Farrier  On 04/26/2021 at 5:29 pm

    I love this poem. Do I have your kind permission to read it when I resume my FREE Poetry sessions at schools around Guyana? Thanks in advance, T. Eric Matthews. Francis Quamina Farrier

  • brandli62  On 04/27/2021 at 6:04 am

    Lovely poem and I am glad to read that the dam project never got off the ground.

  • dhanpaul narine  On 04/27/2021 at 8:45 pm

    It was 1976, and we were Research Officers with UMDA, stationed in the Upper Mazaruni. Ted and I were there at Kumerau. His poem accurately depicts the majesty of the Falls. The line ‘myriad rocks glistened…’ is about the gold dust that lay embedded in the sand. And there were other minerals too. Guyana’s interior is not only beautiful, but rich as well. We have only begun to scratch the surface.

  • Errol Matthews  On 04/28/2021 at 7:23 am

    Excellent poem, beautiful imagery …” …We stood, humbled,– and descended with the music of your voices in our memories… ” … ONE LOVE ALWAYS

    • Shaheed Abdool  On 04/29/2021 at 4:20 pm

      Is this the same T Eric Matthews that taught at South Georgetown government secondary ?
      Great poem!!

      • Ted Eric Matthews  On 05/01/2021 at 7:33 pm

        My brother! We shared the first and glorious days of SGGSS ! Thank you for
        sharing that learned comment re my little poetic effort. One Love!

  • Lear Matthews  On 05/01/2021 at 4:35 pm

    Yes, this is he….Good to hear from you,Shaheed,

  • Claudius Prince  On 10/04/2021 at 1:46 pm

    “How could we be so haughty, so arrogant to think of averting, of stemming, of controlling you …………….” beautiful lines, I love it.

  • Ben Gaule  On 12/18/2021 at 3:04 pm

    Can one still climb up the Kumerau falls?

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