Fazenda

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Fazenda

The disembodied scream of a peacock, floating
on the night air, disturbed his sleep. Half
waking, the qualities of dream returned him amongst
the thatch and whitewashed walls, the gentility
of gilded chairs and resplendent sofas. Beyond windows
without glass, heaped coffee steamed
in an aromatic haze, beckoned towards the dark-green
stillness of luxuriant forest, where a cool
stroll in dawn silence was broken by the African
cadences of the slaves’ morning hymn. Another
peacock scream; he recollected the house near Rio, where
the old woman habituated to harsh commands
applied the thumb screws to her slaves, joint
by joint, wrenched off down to the stump. Grandfather
Wedgewood’s emancipation seal rotates
like a mesmeric watch before his sleeping
face; a talisman to his distress, on which a slave kneels
naked except for a loincloth, raising manacled hands
in supplication for conversion and emancipation. His lips move
along the mottoed words, ‘Am I not a man and a brother’.

The Burial of Lord Byron – Part II

The Burial of Lord Byron – Part II

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Sails flapped and cracked on mast and spar; bellied
out to whistles, orders, rope Continue reading

The Burial of Lord Byron – Part I

The Burial of Lord Byron – Part I

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with the tap of knife to glass his Grace rose
clutching the letter, spoke in disbelief to the silenced Continue reading

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