For my Caribbean Lit class I had to read the first seven chapters of From Columbus to Castro by Eric Williams. It’s a really bloody affair filled with gold lust, slavery, sugar manufacturing, Royal ineptitude, and transnational greed. There was also a lot of stuff on Spanish trade policy which bored me to tears, so I decided to write a sonnet on what I read.
From Columbus to Castro, by Eric Williams, Chapters 1-7: A Sonnet
Borne on the backs of savagery and blood,
was this new nation of the mixed races.
The lust for gold: in rocks, in holes, in mud-
and sweetness from slav’ry-run bases.
The politics of who goes on the boat:
The White, The Slave, The Pure, The Dirty Horde.
But money always had the final vote,
and so they came with blessings from their Lord.
The tight’ning hand constricting all the trade,
nor enough men, women, or children brought.
“Who cares,” proclaimed the King, “just get me paid.”
(Equality was not something he sought.)
Descended, they, loosed from the rule of law,
to make a world both beautiful and raw.