She was the nameless woman who created images of her children sold away from her. She suspended her wood babies from a rope round her neck, before she ate she fed them. Touched bits of pounded yam and plantains to sealed lips, always urged them to sip water. She carved them of wormwood, teeth and nails her first tools, later she wielded a blunt blade. Her spit cleaned faces and limbs; the pitch oil of her skin burnished them. When woodworms bored into their bellies she warmed castor oil they purged. She learned her art by breaking hard rockstones. She did not sign her work.
Welcome, welcome Brother debtor; to yon poor but merry place, Where no Bayliff, dun or setter, Dare to show their frightful face, But kind sir, as you’re a stranger; Down your garnish you must lay Or your coat will be in danger You must either strip or pay.
Ne’er Repine at your confinement From your children or your wife, Wisdom lies in true Refinement Thro’ the various scenes of life Scorn to Show that least resentment Tho beneath the frowns of fate, Knaves and beggars find contentment, Tears and cares attend the great.
Tho’ our Creditors are spiteful And restrain our bodies here, Use will make a Gaol delightful Since there’s nothing else to fear, Every Island’s but a prison Strongly guarded by the sea, Kings and princes for the reason Prisoners are as well as we.
What was it made great Alexander weep at his unfriendly fate?
Twas because he could not wander Beyond ye world’s strong prison gate, The world itself is strongly bounded by the heavens and stars above, Why should we then be confounded, since there’s nothing free but love.