Monthly Archives: February 2017

Dabydeen – Slave Song

Slave Song by Dabydeen was a very interesting read, as it provided a point of view that isn’t romanticized or sugarcoated, which gives it more depth in its depiction of the British colonization of the Guyana. I specifically looked into the poem Slave Song and how it uses sadistic sexual violence to depict the abusive/violent colonizers and the powerless servants who can only conquer their masters through their imagination. The servant tries to liberate himself through the use of phallic imagery such as when he says, “But yu caan stap me cack floodin in de goldmine / Caan stap me cack splashin in de sunshine”. The liberating tone is evoked through phallic representation of the male penetrating the female through the words ‘floodin’ and ‘splashin’. The gold and the sun can be a phallic symbol of the female gentile which is depicted as rich and warm and the male sex symbol of the cack is represented as violent through its forceful actions. Also, the poem draws interesting comparisons between the servant and animals, as it states, “Look how e’ya leap from bush to bush like a lack crappau / Seeking out a watahole / Blind by de sunflare, tongue like a dussbowl”. There is a sense of being desperate which is representational of the lack of control that the black servant has and is at the mercy of his masters. At the same time, the waterhole can be symbolic of his imagination which is what reliefs him from the stress and is in a metaphorical sense life-giving. This poem uses the servant’s mental conquest for the master’s wife to add depth towards how the servant seeks hope in the dire situation through the manipulation of his imagination. In order to survive and have hope, imagination functions as a lifeline that keeps him alive and has the will to live on.