Tag Archives: martin carter

excerpt from ‘I Come From The Nigger Yard’ . martin carter

excerpt from I Come From The Nigger Yard




I come from the nigger yard of yesterday

leaping from the oppressors’ hate

and the scorn of myself;

from the agony of the dark hut in the shadow

and the hurt of things;

from the long days of cruelty and the long nights of pain

down to the wide streets of to-morrow, of the next day

leaping I come, who cannot see will hear.


In the nigger yard I was naked like the new born

naked like a stone or a star.

It was a cradle of blind days rocking in time

torn like the skin from the back of a slave.

It was an aching floor on which I crept

on my hands and my knees

searching the dust for the trace of a root

or the mark of a leaf or the shape of a flower.


It was me always walking with bare feet,

meeting strange faces like those in dreams or fever

when the whole world turns upside down

and no one knows which is the sky or the land

which heart is his among the torn or wounded

which face is his among the strange and terrible

walking about, groaning between the wind.


And there was always sad music somewhere in the land

like a bugle and a drum between the houses

voices of women singing far away

pauses of silence, then a flood of sound.

But these were things like ghosts or spirits of wind.

It was only a big world spinning outside

and men, born in agony, torn in torture, twisted and broken like a leaf,

and the uncomfortable morning, the beds of hunger stained and sordid

like the world, big and cruel, spinning outside.



So I was born again stubborn and fierce

screaming in a slum.

It was a city and coffin space for home

a river running, prisons, hospitals

men drunk and dying, judges full of scorn

priests and parsons fooling gods with words

and me, like a dog tangled in rags

spotted with sores powdered with dust

screaming with hunger, angry with life and men.



Until today in the middle of the tumult

when the land changes and he world’s all convulsed

and when different voices join to say the same

and different hearts beat out in unison

where on the aching floor of where I live

the shifting earth is twisting into shape

I take again my nigger life, my scorn

and fling it in the face of those who hate me.

It is me the nigger boy turning to manhood

linking my fingers, welding my flesh to freedom.


I come from the nigger yard of yesterday

leaping from the oppressors’ hate

and the scorn of myself.

I come to the world with scars upon my soul

wounds on my body, fury in my hands

I turn to the histories of men and the lives of the peoples.

I examine the shower of sparks the wealth of the dreams.

I am pleased with the glories and sad with the sorrows

rich with the riches, poor with the loss.

From the nigger yard of yesterday I come with my burden.

To the world of to-morrow I turn with my strength.





Martin Carter, Poems of Resistance from British Guiana


this is the dark time my love . martin carter

This Is The Dark Time My Love



This is the dark time, my love.

All round the land brown beetles crawl about.

The shining sun is hidden in the sky.

Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.


This is the dark time, my love.

It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.

It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.

Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.


Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

watching you sleep and aiming at your dream.



Martin Carter, Poems of Resistance from British Guiana


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