Up River: Moving Poems by Cecil from Dollar Tree

Up River a collection of moving poems that show similarities between 1980s Guyana and America today.

Up River, a collection of moving poems by Cecil Rupnaraine, is a remarkable way to celebrate poetry and a remarkable poet. April is, after all, poetry month. I am lucky that Cecil recently shared a last remaining copy of his poems from a first partial attempt to publish; a couple are reproduced here.

While getting through the confusion of the original printing process, Cecil became known as the man from Dollar Tree, and this label got featured on the book’s cover. This gives an indication of how hard-working and selfless the man is. I got to know Cecil because he lives adjacent to my 99-year-old father in law. Cecil is a vital part of the old man’s support structure. Cecil shared the poetry sitting on the front porch.

Up River: Moving Poems That Are Also Moveable

Cecil and family are working to preserve and publish his work. It is certainly worthy. I suggest they moveable across time and space. The trials and tribulations of Guyana in South America, a third world country in the 1980s, are poignantly applicable to the USA today. Guyana – a mix of Chinese, Indian, and native peoples – was trying to gain its feet and find freedom. The poetry features raw emotion and humanity.

Cecil’s favorite poem of the Up River collection is the one that follows.

For My Children

someday soon I hope
the fire in the sun
would simmer
into a gentle breeze
and birds would come home
to roost their weary wings
on a tree of whispering content.

someday soon, my son
I hope that time
would light a candle
in your heart
and you would come
to sense it all
the pains and joys
and peaks of hope
where parents set their gaze
as children sometimes
thread these hazy paths below.

yet the paths you thread
my son
I cannot choose for you
for as a robin flies the summer skies
so must you also
seek the light of day
for each of us
in time and space
our unique orbit trace.

so live, my son
the dreams you choose
rise and fall –
yet rise again
feel each passion as you go
but then again
do not let consume you
in its flow.

be wary
and not afraid
to pause or stop
and above it all
be sensible enough
to know
when you have reached your goal
or touched your soul
for many a dream, my son
are washed away
in the swiftness of the flow
even though the sweetness lies
there where the river is still or slow.

and though i’ve pondered deep
and written all these thoughts for you
i cannot help, my son
but dream
my own dreams for you
and hope someday soon
you’ll come to know
that though we differ so
pa was always
there for you.

Here is one of the moving poems that shows the imperialist tyranny of 1980s Guyana, with emotional similarity to today’s changing America.

This Cause Supreme

nothing matters – it seems
when conflicts breathe
anger and hatred
and a cause supreme
that erodes patience and reason
and rage claws like a cat
on the walls of the mind
tearing down sinews of trust
and brotherhood
and love vanishes
in daily carnage
of dust and blood
yes! nothing matters – it seems
as extremism becomes
a sacred duty
and killers are crowned
with the glory of martyrs.

Let’s hope Cecil’s collection gets published and manages to be seen. If you like his work, please share this with others.