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This poem is taken from PN Review 86, Volume 18 Number 6, July - August 1992.

Three Poems Les Murray

THE FAMILY FARMERS' VICTORY

For Salvatore Zofrea
 
White grist that turns people black,
it was also the white cane sugar
fixed humans as black or white. Sugar,
first luxury of the modernising poor.

It turned slavery black to repeat it.
Black to grow it, white to eat it
shuffled all the tropic world. Cane sugar
would only flourish in sweat of the transported.

That was the old Plantation,
blackbirding ship to commissar.
White teeth decried the tyranny of sugar
but Italian Australians finished it.

On the red farm blocks they bought
and cleared, for cane-besieged stilt houses
...


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