Most were naked but for the locked tin masks
which stop them sucking the cane they harvest.
We could see they had been made tigerish
by their whippings. Our sabres stuck in bone,
our saddle-girths were slashed by their children,
crones tore shot from the mouths of primed cannon
while our powder-monkeys fumbled and wept.
But we have laid them up in lavender.
They think their dead will wake in Africa.
by Ian Duhig
from The Bradford Count
Publisher: Bloodaxe, Newcastle, 1991