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Lay for the Day
11th October

1492: Christopher Columbus sights land, 69 days after setting sail from Spain. The following day, Friday 12th October, he set foot on an island in the Bahamas that he named San Salvador (which is thought to be the one now known as Waitling Island).
Peaceful Arawaks inhabited the Bahamas, but within 20 years there were no natives left, 40,000 of the Arawaks having been transported to Hispaniola (the island now divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to work the Spanish mines.

Before the Empires

In the time before the empires
when the people of three rivers stood up
they said, We are they who fight naked
and they are the armoured.
They have no families
but where our daughters serve them
and we have no metal. What will they not take?
This was before the nation,
nobody thought of tomorrow then,
and the mothers asked about the children
and the men said, We have no metal,
and they said, The children will have children.
They stood up and pointed to the west
and they looked to the east
before the nation broke them,
when this song was made
and their name was not forgotten.

John Gibbens
from Makings ’89-’91

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar