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As I Gaze Upon the River – A Poem by Kapohn

Cover photo by Graham Watkins of Rupununi.org

Published: 16th of January, 2023 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: January 21, 2023 at 18:44 pm

The indigenous lifestyle is a simple, natural one. While many indigenous persons leave their natural communities and venture into more industrialized zones, taking up jobs and even owning businesses, indigenous peoples in their natural environment only consume what they need to survive and live comfortably. Unlike other ethnic groups in Guyana, the indigenous peoples value the preservation of the natural environment above the creation of wealth.

This poem by Kapohn, a prominent indigenous public figure, highlights the struggle the indigenous peoples face in Guyana as industrialization encroaches and takes a heavy toll on their natural environment.

Tears stream down his weathered face, 
As he gazes upon the river's trace. 
Once a source of life, now a scar, 
The destruction of his community's star. 

The water once flowed clear and pure, 
But now it's tainted, a sickness to endure. 
Fish and fowl no longer thrive, 
Their spirits taken, now barely alive. 

Memories of laughter and joy, 
Now replaced by this indigenous man's sorrow. 
His people's connection to this land, 
Now severed by the greed of man's hand. 

The river that sustained for generations, 
Now a source of heartache and frustration. 
He weeps for the loss of his past, 
For in the future his community may not last.
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