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Remembering Cheddi Jagan in Prose & Verse

Get Well Dear President by Saywack Singh

Our beloved President we pray that your recovery is near,
Guyanese need you to come back and eradicate our fear
Of the past when we were the lowest of them all,
Now we cherish your work, both large and small.

Come on dear President, you're a great fighter,
Why illness can be so cruel and bitter,
To a man whose life we dare not compare?
In his native land he caused even poverty to disappear.

Now in hospital as you lie in your bed,
The world is praying, from the rich to the poorly fed,
We want our leader to come sit and take his place,
You're the only one to heal a country with more than one race.

To a great President we give our respect and love,
As God is guiding you with his blessings from above,
Yes you have conquered all obstacles in life,
Not without the support of Janet your dear wife.

You won us democracy and we know you have the will
To return home and keep the nation calm and still,
Yes in sickness and happiness with you we truly stand,
You're the leader to rebuild Guyana, as we travel hand in hand.

© Saywack Singh 1999


Last Respects by Carol Gopaul

A scene from Dr. Jagan's funeral

The lines started as early as five
in the morning
There was dew on the grass
and people were weeping.
As everyone filed past just to
have a peer in the glass

Some came showing great humanity.
Some came out of curiosity.
Some just to be on TV
But they all came to see you, Cheddi.

When he left in an ambulance
for his journey to the States
I was viewing it of course
from my TV
and I believed when he said
"Don't worry, everything will be alright".
But was struck in shock, when his heart
took flight.

I was travelling in a mini-bus
and the headline that day was "Fallen Warrior".
One passenger commented laughingly,
"Fallen Warrior! Man he really was warrish".
I want to say yes my friend
He raged a war for you and me
So we could regain our identity.

© Carol Gopal 1999


A Fallen Star by Sharon Sukhai

And even as he lay there battteling for life,
He continued to give hope to his beloved wife and people,
As he had done his entire life.

For there had never been such a star,
Leading this nation to freedom and prospertiy,
Rest in peace,
Our beloved President.

© Sharon Sukhai 1999

Cane   by David Dabydeen

  • You were born of cane
    Not as the planters hoped -
    Barefooted, beggardly of mind -
    But hugely wise, a soul blown high
    By the incensed breath
    Of a cankered slave:
    Cane made you a vision of mankind.
    So let the empty-handed, toothless, blind,
    The endless poor, the desperate, the folk,
    Those whom we spurn, debauch or trade,
    Come, for in you they will find
    What is most healing in mankind,
    Your hands forever open, giving, fatherly;
    Your ceaseless heart, your mind's nobility.

© David Dabydeen 1998


Bells of Truth by Janet Naidu

Eternal soul, arriving on the plantation
Only 79 years ago those lamps glistened upon him,
Guyana's most magnificent child, smiling so
In breezy spirits he stood, amidst chemellies and more
Shining on the Corentyne coast.

His call for Freedom, this native soil,
Branded the soil of all Guyana
Carrying fresh garlands, his fragrance so in abundance
Those many lives of bondage, no deeper passion saw
But him, virtuous Cheddi Jagan

He unleashed a new journey, sounding hopes
Reaching dreams for our people's progress.
He saw turbulent rice planting, swifter sugarcane cutting,
Fighting tidal waves, night was dismal and day was night
Yet, witnessing humanity's strange oppression
Like the Mahatma, a peaceful warrior.

A great Sage graced our presence
No shining light, nor mighty flame
Can brighten our world as he shone,
His life's Work, steadfast and unbeaten.

Our tears know his passing
Is only a temporary departure
For his eternal soul is drinking strong of divine truth
Spreading his words on the Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice

Can you see his dreams climbing our mountains?
Can you feel his footsteps along our Atlantic coast?
Can you notice his smile on our cascading waterfalls?
We see his legacy swimming our rivers, walking our soil,
Cheddi Jagan our everlasting hero

© Janet Naidu 1999


For a Fallen Hero by William R. Abbensetts

Dr. Jagan leading a protest march
in the late 1960s


His Excellency Dr Cheddi Jagan
His sterling struggles and performances identified the man
He fought for the subaltern class the best way he can
Opposing elements he did not ban.

He was undoubtedly the best
He had passed all the national tests
He was a leader filled with zest
Certainly he surpassed all the rest.

A true hero of this nation
He was indeed the most committed national champion
A man with a very strong conviction
National freedom and independence were his ambition.

A true dedicated national hero
Who started here the nationalist movement from zero
Was he a coward or a corrupt man? No!
Sincerity, empathy and integrity he did show.

A true leader of the Guyanese people
In all his deliberations, he was most reasonable
As a fearless leader he set the best example
The inspiring qualities of him are indescribable.

Faithful to the working class struggles, he remained
For that reason, international respect he had gained
His view of democracy he maintained
He fought ardently for it to be regained.

He fought for justice to the end
To all his opposers he did not bend
Neither to external pressures did he condescend
All lovers of freedom he did command.

Our national hero has now fallen
His works and struggles will never be forgotten
He gave his whole life for those who were down-trodden
A nation is aggrieved, his expiration, so sudden!

The sting of death like a killer's knife
On our dear leader made a deadly swipe
Our greatest sympathy to his relatives, brethren, children and wife
In Paradise may God grant him eternal life.


© William R. Abbensetts


Hush Awhile by James C. Richmond

A man with dreams and vision came
To fight 'gainst Colonial powers, for Guyana's name
A titanic great and strong
Who toiled and toiled so long—
Yet fortitude and poetic speed
'Gainst those who conspired, he succeed.

A minute to give is not enough
Hush awhile
He fathered the Nation
Hush awhile

A minute to give is not enough.
Your dreams enfold the clouds beyond Guyana's land
The illustrious President Cheddi Jagan
Gone to the Caribbean, the whole world to see
The poet to say, "The dreamer's dreams enlightened me."
An epitaph to Cheddi
'A stalwart of Humanity'.

A minute to give is not enough
Hush awhile
He fathered the Nation
Hush awhile
A minute to give is not enough.

© James C. Richmond


President Cheddi Jagan by Diah Singh

A man of honor a man of fame
A man who does not play dirty game
A man of dignity a man of pride
A man with his people side by side
A man of wisdom a man of strength
A man of freedom has gone the length
A man of courage a man of faith
A man for his people has opened freedom's gate
A man who encourages others to sow good seed
A man who opposes corruption and greed
A man who deserved to be head of state
A man who realized "Good things come to those who wait"
A man who struggled for independence which came
A man who accepted it without mention of his name
A man who lit the political torch in his land
A man who waved international political wand
A man for his people was banned and jailed
A man for "DEMOCRACY" who was derailed
A man who regrouped to take his rightful place
A man who prevailed in the last presidential race

October 17. 1992

© Diah Singh

A Tribute to Dr. Cheddi Jagan by Pooran Singh

You blazed the path to freedom,
taught us to struggle,
Planted the purest of ideals,
your nobles of ideals.
The spirit of a Great
Man gone
Stays on
To give the many left
New hope, even in despair
To give the few
who share the great
New strength, to guide
to plan - to serve
Even as we mourn.

Even as we mourn
Cry out the gladness of
another day
For us who wept to
watch him pass that way
the sun will still glow
brightly on the street
And from these sombre hours
Golden flowers of
Promise at our feet.
Pluck them now
A better morning to
And build a blessing of
this curse
Even as we mourn.

© Pooran Singh


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