November 1, 2007
Landmark at Chateau Margot
Chateau Margotis a little village on the East Coast of Demerara about six miles from Georgetown.
It was once a sugar estate, therefore the need for this tall imposing structure, the factory chimney, which is the first object that passengers on board a ship that comes to Guyana see. It was erected by a Buxtonian, Anthony Gordon, who was as imposing as the structure itself. A verbose man of whom it was said told his groom, in the days of horse-drawn carriages to “unhitch those quadrupeds and provide them with provender, or I shall connect my shoemaker to your tailor.”
On the completion of his task when he saw the volume of smoke that was emitted from the chimney, exclaimed, “Had it not been for the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, I would have drowned the heavens with smoke!” The chimney has been the theme for two other Annandale poets, Rooplal Monar, national prizewinner and Guska, poet and artist.
The writer of my foreword to “Selected Poems” yet unpublished, told me that reading about the Chimney brought tears to her eyes. Here it is:
defiant of wind and weather
dwarfing the tall green trees around;
Innumerable bricks labouriously laid
fashioned your form so straight and strong.
Where is the being that gave you shape?
If you could answer, you would tell:
“His bones are hidden in the dust
and time has dulled the scroll of memory”
Yet, in your form and bearing there exudes
the spirit of your maker long deceased.
Once your hollow symmetry
like a giant sky-trained gun
belched forth munitions of black dust
that seemed to drown high heaven
and hide the sun;
But now, your sooty task, complete
You remain serene, majestic,
enveloped in earth and sky and air
a monument to your designer
gladdening eyes at sea.
So, like you,
when my brief task of rhyming is complete
and the dark dust of my musings to earth subsides,
May my soul’s song survive:
a time defying monument in VERSE.